Governor Hutchinson announced the re-establishment of the Women’s Commission, marking the 50th anniversary of the last established Women’s Commission in Arkansas in 1973. The Commission’s work will include the study and analysis of the participation of Arkansas women in the state’s labor force; barriers to entry into the labor force; and the participation onArkansas women in entrepreneurial pursuits in emerging and high-demand career paths such as STEM.
The governor appointed Mellie Bridewell, President and current CEO of Arkansas Rural Health Partnership and regional director in the UAMS Office of Strategy Management, as one of 18 members of the commission. Alison Williams, Chief of Staff for Governor Hutchinson, will serve as chair.
“In my administration, women are an essential part of my leadership team,” Governor Hutchinson said at the announcement on February 17, 2022. “I have relied upon women in leadership positions to bring success to administration.”
Arkansas has had four commissions that focus on women, starting with the one Governor Oral Faubus created in 1964 to focus on the social, political, and economic status of women. Governor Rockefeller established the next commission to focus on state employment laws and differences in legal treatment of men and women. In 1973, Governor DaleBumpers reinstated the commission to find ways to enlarge the role of women in economic, political, and social institutions. In 1975, Governor David Pryor instituted the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women to focus, in part, on Title IX and the Equal Rights Amendment.
The newly formed commission will submit their report to the governor by December 1, 2022. See the Governor’s Executive Order establishing the commission here
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ARHP is a registered 501(C)(3) nonprofit comprised of 15 rural hospital members & 2 FQHC's spanning south Arkansas. Together it continues to expand, nurture and provide programs throughout the Partnership’s individual communities.