[With this article, we begin a series of reports written by Contributing Editors, responsible for particular regions they have chosen to cover. Additions, corrections and other remarks responding to this report will be welcome. If you are interested in becoming a Contributing Editor—and writing such a report—see the Spring 1975 Women's Studies Newsletter.]
Missouri is a conservative state, and southern Missouri is its most conservative area. The ERA has been defeated twice, and mainly through the efforts of women. Last spring during the ERA campaign, a lot of bad feeling was aroused and a lot of hysterical talk was heard. People are still afraid of "women's" anything. Southern Missouri (south of the Missouri River or 1-70) is mainly small town rural, but without the large wealthy farms of northern Missouri and with large, chronically depressed areas. In several Ozark counties over one-third of the population lives below the poverty level and the median school years completed ranges between eight and nine. Literacy programs and vocational training have priority over women's studies.