Our World In 2013 (Gwen Moritz Editor's Note)

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

The Arkansas General Assembly has decided to amend the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. (Photo by Stephanie Dunn)

Update, Wednesday, Feb. 27: Gwen Moritz apologizes here.

Editor's Note:
At the request of a number of licensees who were concerned that they might be targeted by criminals, Arkansas Business has voluntarily removed a link to the spreadsheet of concealed-carry licensees generated by the Arkansas State Police on Friday morning before the information was exempted from the state Freedom of Information Act. And as of Tuesday, Feb. 26, Moritz is no longer responding to requests for copies of the list.

**

I trust you’ll take the time to read this week’s features on 10 truly interesting women. I learned so much from writing one and editing the other nine. I think the Arkansas Business reporting staff did a great job of choosing “Women of Influence” whose spheres of influence are about as varied as can be imagined — from the mother of 19 children to the CEO of Sam’s Club.

(Actually, Michelle Duggar probably knows a lot about Sam’s Club. But I digress.)

As much as I enjoy this feature, and as deserving of attention as I think these women are, I have to confess that I wish that getting more women in the pages of Arkansas Business weren’t something that took a special effort. For years, in fact, I resisted the idea of singling out women to feature — or minorities, for that matter — because it smacked of manipulating the news.

Plus, I told myself that this problem would eventually solve itself because more and more women would enter the world of business and climb swiftly to those managerial and executive ranks that bring them to our attention. But in 2010, I finally conceded that it just wasn’t happening on its own.

Oh, certainly there are more women in executive roles than there were in 1984, when Arkansas Business launched, or in 1999, when I arrived. But the imbalance is still pretty obvious when I look at the names and faces in this publication week to week.

I’m not sure an occasional feature like Women of Influence will change much, but at least it can serve as a reminder that there are capable women doing important work for those businesses and organizations that give them the chance — or creating their own spheres of influence.

***

I can’t adequately express without wildly waving hand gestures how disappointed I am that the Arkansas General Assembly, in some kind of brain-paralyzing panic, has decided to amend the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act so that the public cannot know who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

As this publication pointed out in an editorial a couple of weeks back, knowing who is licensed is the only way to determine who is not licensed. Your crazy uncle shows up at a family reunion packing heat — is he really licensed? A neighbor has taken to walking the sidewalks with a sidearm — is he licensed? Your church decides to allow firearms on the premises — as should be the right of a private, voluntary organization — but is that guy in the next pew really licensed to carry?

 

 

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