Arkansas Women's Rights


An anonymous scientific survey conducted on the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville campus to measure the incidence of nonconsensual sexual contact revealed that 31 percent of women sampled reported being victims. Such contact includes campus rapes and sexual assaults as well as unwanted sexual touching.

The survey was conducted at the urging of an Arkansas legislator raising awareness about widespread sexual violence on college campuses, and that Arkansas is among more than a dozen states that do not teach comprehensive sex education in public schools — including what constitutes sexual consent.

Further illuminating the widely-reported UA survey, a female student who claims she was sexually assaulted carried around a bed sheet for weeks, raising alarm.

Gwen Combs at the Women's March for Arkansas in January 2017.
Combs Campaign.

Gwen Combs, one of four Democratic candidates in the 2nd Congressional District primary, has secured an endorsement from the National Organization for Women. NOW describes itself as the “largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States.”

In a statement to the Combs’ campaign, the president of the Arkansas NOW chapter said, "Since 1966, NOW has worked to empower women at work, at home, under the law, in health choices and as equal citizens. Gwen's steadfast leadership demonstrates that she will prioritize full equality for women and girls if elected."

This Thursday women in Arkansas's media world launched the #morethanababe hashtag in response to a local radio show's Babe Bracket that ranks TV journalists based on looks. Governor Asa Hutchinson previously went on program and said "everybody enjoys it” but has since released a statement saying he was not defending the gimmick.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

One year after the Women's March drew thousands to the streets nationwide, including in Arkansas, demonstrators again made the journey to the Arkansas State Capitol to let their voices be heard. Though this year's March On, Arkansas! March to the Polls and ensuing Rally for Reproductive Justice had numerous callbacks to the previous march, including many signature pink hats, there was a marked shift in tone. Legislators, candidates and community organizers urged the public to channel their dissatisfaction into votes for progressive politics. 

Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote: The Little Rock Campaigns 1869-1920.
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. 2015.

February marked the 100th anniversary of Arkansas recognizing women’s right to vote – at least white women, in primary elections – but a historic milestone nonetheless.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with Bernadette Cahill, author of Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote: The Little Rock Campaigns 1868-1920 published by UA Press and the Butler Center for Arkansas studies.

Listen in to hear how Arkansas women built a movement; why primary elections were targeted; and the state’s place in the national women’s suffrage movement.

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies / Central Arkansas Library System

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is scheduled to proclaim February 7 as “Women’s Primary Suffrage Centennial Day” during an event Tuesday at the state Capitol.

One hundred years ago Arkansas lawmakers introduced legislation allowing women to vote in primary elections. Kathleen Pate, president of the non-profit Arkansas Women’s History Institute, says Arkansas was the first non-suffrage state to enact such a law, which, while progressive for its time, was still limited.

State Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) watching from the Senate public gallery as his bill is debated.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A bill to restrict a common form of second trimester abortions in Arkansas is now law. Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the measure banning a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E). According to the state Department of Health, it was the only procedure used for 18% of abortions performed in the 12th week of pregnancy or later in 2015. 

Organizers and state police estimates on the number of demonstrators at the state Capitol for the Women's March on Saturday ranged from 3,000 to 7,000. Take a look at some pictures of the march in the gallery above. The rally in Little Rock was one of a string of events held worldwide protesting the presidency of Donald Trump.

March for Life pro-life anti-abortion abortion
Talk Business & Politics

Forty-four years to the day after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, Gov. Asa Hutchinson told a couple of thousand marchers at the annual March for Life that he will sign a bill outlawing the most common form of second trimester abortion.

David Monteith / KUAR

Hoping to show solidarity with the Women’s March in the nation’s capitol, a large crowd gathered in Little Rock Saturday.

Thousands of people, many dressed in purple, chanted “Women united will never be divided,” and “This is what democracy looks like,” while marching down Capitol Avenue before a rally was held on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol.

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