Research Study Focuses On Challenges Utah Women Face In Government Roles

Nov 9, 2020


Research Study Focuses On Reasons Why Working In Government Is More Difficult For Women
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A new study takes a deep look at what is keeping Utah women from feeling successful in their government jobs.

“In fact a couple years ago we were the second worst in the nation for sexism. And that really emerges when you have a real distinction between what people in society think men should do and what they think women should do," Susan Madsen said.

 Madsen is the founding director at the Utah Women in Leadership Project. And the lead researcher and author of the report. 

The report  found some things that keep women back are specific like being left out of work-related social activities such as playing golf.  But other things are more about bias—even an unconscious bias—that women just aren’t supposed to be in the workplace. 

Madsen gathered research from over 400 women who are employed in government at all levels in Utah. She said women are getting jobs and advancing but the workplace is harder for them. A big part of the study focused on women being interrupted and talked over in meetings.

“We titled that ‘stifled voices.' So they didn’t feel like they were being listened to, they were being shut down, ignored, talked over, dismissed, dismounted, those kinds of things," she said.

Madsen said people often don’t see what is happening unless someone calls it out, and that is why the research study can help organizations and leaders better understand how their work culture has to change.

For more information on this research study, please visit