New Study to Focus on Economics of Educating Women in Arkansas

University of Central Arkansas faculty and students in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership (LEAD) program are working together with the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas to examine the economics of educating women in Arkansas.

This study will build upon previous findings by taking a new look at why women in Arkansas choose to pursue or not pursue higher levels of education. The study will examine how education impacts the individual characteristics, families, and communities of women when they have access to knowledge. Researchers are also interested in the roles education, health, and other nonprofit institutions, as well as policy-makers, can play in influencing and lifting a woman’s potential. Previous research has examined earning potential of educated versus non-educated women, factors that influence educational attainment, and other economic and social results of not completing an education.

Kristy Carter, a student in LEAD, is a member of the research team. Carter says early research findings tell an important story. “We have the literature that shows educating women actually helps ensure they are afforded the same opportunities as men, and educated women tend to improve their quality of life and control resources better,” said Carter. “If we tell the stories of these women and give examples of who they are, how they live, where they live, and what the obstacles are that they face in Arkansas, then maybe we can create a better picture for the future.”

The researchers began data collection after two October luncheons in Bentonville and Little Rock. Hosted by the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, the “Power of the Purse” luncheons honored women’s accomplishments and raised money for programs that are improving the lives of women and girls in Arkansas. After the data is collected and analyzed, the findings will be presented to the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas and will be included in their annual report.

Data will be collected through a survey instrument and one-on-one interviews. Carter, who is also executive director of Outreach and Community Engagement at UCA, says the research team needs over 1,000 women in the state, aged 18 and older, to complete a short online survey. Women who are interested in sharing their personal experience of pursing an education are highly encouraged to participate. To complete the online survey, you may go to