Utah ranks 48th in the nation for women’s work hours compared to men’s, 49th in women’s pay compared to men’s and 50th in the amount of women employed compared to men.
And these are just a few reasons why Utah was named the worst state for women’s equality this week in a study done by the personal financial company Wallet Hub.
The study said Utah has poor representation of women in government, fewer women who go on to receive a higher education compared to men, and fewer women who start businesses in Utah than in many other states.
There’s a lot to be desired in the United States for women’s equality, said Candi Carter-Olson, an assistant professor at Utah State University who studies gender and media.
“Why, here in the United States, can’t we pass something as simple as an equal rights amendment which says women should earn the same as men legally?” she said. “Why is this so hard to pass?”
But beyond financial inequality between genders, Carter-Olson said Utah also has social issues such as domestic violence. She says one Utah woman dies from this kind of abuse about every 30 days.
“Utah has a 1 in 3 domestic violence rate,” she said. “So, one in three women here will experience domestic violence versus 1 in 4 in the nation.”
Many of Utah’s women choose to stay home because they’re often supported when they make that decision, which could explain some of the financial disparities Utah women face.
“There’s sort of this pressure on women everywhere,” Carter-Olson said. “‘Oh, you want to be a traditional stay-at-home mom? You shouldn’t be a traditional stay-at-home mom’ or, ‘Wait, you want to be a mom who works outside of the home? You can’t do that, that’s bad for your kids.’ That’s what women get everywhere. But here in Utah there’s at least support if you want to be a mom. Great, there’s support for that here. But in many other ways, there’s a lot of things that are difficult for women here.”
Carter-Olson would like to see men and women working together to find equality for both genders.
She said: “To talk about solutions, we need to talk about gender equality across the board and talk about what gender constraints are put on both men and women.”