By Robert Mann
How could one state so consistently ignore the health and well being of its youth? I’m referring, of course, to Louisiana. When it comes to children, we are Land of Last in everything good and Fatherland of First in everything bad.
To our shame, we lead the nation in child poverty, low-birth-weight babies, children served by the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (commonly known as food stamps), teen births, students receiving free-or-reduced lunches, and children under supervision of the Office of Juvenile Justice.
How have we managed to treat our children with such indifference?
I have a theory, related to our rank on another national list: Louisiana is last among states in the percentage of women serving in its Legislature (11.8 percent), according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
It’s not just the Legislature. We’ve had one female governor. Only eight women have been elected to statewide office in Louisiana. Only three have been elected to Congress (two more were appointed).
Most of our mayors and local officials are male. Did you know that Louisiana has only one female district attorney and not one sheriff? About 70 percent of the members of the state’s boards and commissions are male. The LSU Board, for example, has one woman.
So, the men have generally been running things forever and what, exactly, do we have to show for it? Well, Louisiana is, simply put, the worst state in the country to be a child.
continue reading at NOLA.com