The Status of Women in Utah & the Annual YWCA Policy Summit

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The YWCA of Utah, located in Salt Lake City, continues their impressive mission of empowering women and eliminating racism, as will as their advocacy efforts at the State and national level.  This month the organization held its annual Policy Summit.  Each year, policy makers, community leaders, and researchers come together for a solution focused dialogue and innovative problem solving.  This conference is an opportunity to elevate the conversation around critical issues, develop shared understanding, and explore lasting and inclusive change for women, girls, and families in Utah.

This year, the conference opened with the release of the Institute of Women’s Policy Research's annual report on the status of women.  Notably, this year, the number of women working outside the home continues to increase, now slightly surpassing the rate of women’s labor market participation in the country as a whole. The percentage of women working part-time in Utah is still the highest in the nation. Business ownership and representation in professional and managerial positions among Utah women are also increasing, more Utah women now live above the poverty line, and women in Utah have made great strides in education attainment; however, the progress in these areas is markedly different when race and ethnicity are considered. For example, women of color participate in the labor market at higher rates than white women in Utah, but have lower earnings. Among full-time year-round workers, white women earn significantly more than women from all other racial and ethnic groups, and overall earnings for all Utah women have not yet returned to their 2015 level after a backward slide highlighted in last year’s fact sheet. Older women also continue to be highly dependent on Social Security for economic security later in life, with a higher proportion of women of color relying entirely on Social Security for their income than white women.

You can read the full report here

Even with small strides towards women’s equality, recently Utah was rated the worst in the nation.  Wallethub.com released its 2019 Best and Worst states for Women’s Equality report and considered three things in their rankings: Workplace and environment, political power, and education and Health.  Utah ranked last, or second to last on all three.  Utah has the second largest income gaps between men and women, and the largest executive positions gap.  

There is more work to be done; I’m proud to support the work of the YWCA in their mission of empowering women and eliminating racism, as well as their advocacy efforts at the State and national level.  This month the YWCA of Utah held its annual Policy Summit.  Each year, policy makers, community leaders, and researchers come together for a solution focused dialogue and innovative problem solving.  This conference is an opportunity to elevate the conversation around critical issues, develop shared understanding, and explore lasting and inclusive change for women, girls, and families in Utah.

This year, the conference opened with the release of the Institute of Women’s Policy Research's annual report on the status of women.  Notably, this year, the number of women working outside the home continues to increase, now slightly surpassing the rate of women’s labor market participation in the country as a whole. The percentage of women working part-time in Utah is still the highest in the nation. Business ownership and representation in professional and managerial positions among Utah women are also increasing, more Utah women now live above the poverty line, and women in Utah have made great strides in education attainment; however, the progress in these areas is markedly different when race and ethnicity are considered. For example, women of color participate in the labor market at higher rates than white women in Utah, but have lower earnings. Among full-time year-round workers, white women earn significantly more than women from all other racial and ethnic groups, and overall earnings for all Utah women have not yet returned to their 2015 level after a backward slide highlighted in last year’s fact sheet. Older women also continue to be highly dependent on Social Security for economic security later in life, with a higher proportion of women of color relying entirely on Social Security for their income than white women.

You can read the full report here

Even with small strides towards women’s equality, recently Utah was rated the worst in the nation.  Wallethub.com released its 2019 Best and Worst states for Women’s Equality report and considered three things in their rankings: Workplace and environment, political power, and education and Health.  Utah ranked last, or second to last on all three.  Utah has the second largest income gaps between men and women, and the largest executive positions gap.  

There is more work to be done; we are fortunate to have the YWCA as a strong leader in Utah.