March 21st, 2009

Dear Arkansas Business, (UPDATE)

Congratulations on the 25th anniversary.  I am proud that Arkansas has a respected business publication, and I appreciate the news and features in the weekly editions of Arkansas Business.  Thank you for your contributions to the state and its business population.

I am writing to respond to 25th Anniversary Edition’s list of “25 for the Future.” I was stunned by the lack of female representatives on this list: 3.5 women and 21.5 men (half designations for the #22 split).  Surely someone noticed this unbalanced distribution as the selections were made (using what I have to assume was the official criteria of “likely to impact the state based on their family wealth and position, and others have just exhibited a spark of potential”)?

I don’t believe that finding future-thinking women with a “spark of potential” would have been difficult.  Women make up 51% of the state’s population.  The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas has an Emerging Leaders program.  I work with many bright and talented women in business around the state everyday.  Chamber leadership programs are conducted around the state and include both men and women.

Please understand that I do not think that the men on the list are undeserving of the designation.  Most of the honorees certainly deserve the recognition.  I am simply disappointed by what comes across as an old-fashioned point-of-view about business and leadership, rather than the progressive one I know this state aspires to achieve.

Coming soon to Ms. Adverthinker: profiles and interviews with women who will shape Arkansas’s future.


Ms. Adverthinker

UPDATE: Arkansas Business has pointed out that they included a list of “25 Women Leaders” in the 25th Anniversary Edition as well.  While this is a good thing, this does not counterbalance the “25 for the Future” list; if anything, it is the counterpart to the “25 Living Legends” (a list including only one woman, which is understandable as it is representation of the past).  In this 25th Anniversary edition, the “25 for the Future” was given prominent placement, which is, of course, why it will receive the most criticism.  I maintain my opinion that the balance men to women on the “future” list is severely lacking.

As I noted above, Arkansas Business is welcoming your feedback, which is impressive.  Tell them what you think of the lists.

5 thoughts on “Dear Arkansas Business, (UPDATE)

  1. Emily, thanks for you perspective. I’ll be sure to link this post to the special blog post we’ve set up to collect opinions and critiques of our 25th Anniversary Edition. Anyone who wants to sound off on what we got right, wrong or incomplete is welcome to do so here:

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