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Why Mississippi May Be the Worst State for Women

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By several objective measures, Mississippi is one of our worst states. It has the nation’s highest poverty rate, its second-highest teen pregnancy rate, and its highest teen birth rate. An Education Week report ranks its schools 48 out of 50. Only Louisiana locks up a higher percentage of its people. Its infant mortality rate—9.67 deaths per 1,000 live births, the highest in the nation—is close to Botswana’s. Its life expectancy is the lowest in America and lower than those of Guatemala or Pakistan. Few states invest less in public education or public health. If it were an independent country, we’d consider it part of the Third World.
Not coincidentally, Mississippi is also one of our most conservative states, though in a recent Gallup poll, it slipped from first place to fourth. As iVillage reported last year in a piece on the country’s worst states for women—Mississippi came in first, or rather last—it’s one of only four states that has never sent a woman to Congress.
So we really shouldn’t be shocked that Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, thinks America’s educational woes can be laid at the feet of working mothers. Speaking on a panel this week about how the country became so “mediocre” in education, he replied, “Both parents started working, and the mom is in the workplace.” His comments sparked national outrage and indignation, but they shouldn’t have surprised us. Of course arch-conservatives think social breakdown is caused by the abandonment of traditional gender roles. Of course they fail to recognize that excessive wingnuttery is decimating their societies. That’s why their answers to social breakdown are frequently so ridiculous.
Disapprove of Gov. Bryant on Facebook here.
Read the full article at The Daily Beast here.