To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected Utah women and girls, the Women’s Leadership Project at USU surveyed 3,500 women across the state in January.
Findings from the survey indicate that Utah women bore the brunt of negative consequences of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that 16% of women either left the workplace or reduced their hours, out of necessity for the company’s sake, or because of their other obligations.
And the pandemic only added to the higher amounts of unpaid care work women already perform, according to Susan Madsen, the director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project.
“You get more of that unpaid care work during the pandemic, and are wrestling with trying to work,” she said. “You know, full time, part time; it really has been a challenge for women. Our research found, you know, significant burnout of women across the state, and who work in different industries.”
Another key finding was that 9% of women surveyed were concerned about domestic violence or increased domestic violence in their home during the pandemic. One in three Utah women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Madsen hopes this data increases awareness and prompts efforts to fix this problem.
“That's a significant number,” she said. “This data can be helpful for developing more public policy or making decisions. We really don't give the resources needed for women who have suffered and are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the state."
And while the survey results highlight many concerns, Madsen said there is lots that can be done to address the issues.
“When you understand where you're at in terms of we have results about money concerns and mental health and exhaustion and those things,” Madsen said, “then you can think specifically, what can we do to change that? Whether it be a company, whether it be community programs, whether it be public policy legislation down at the Capitol, there's many things that we can do to really support women and families, which also support men.”