Women’s Equality Day is Monday and according to multiple reports, Utah isn’t measuring up. It still ranks near the bottom for the earnings gap.
According to Wallethub, among all 50 states Utah ranks 49th for the earnings gap, 46th for the executive positions gap, and 50th for the work hours gap. There are many possible reasons for the persistence of the wage gap. One prominent theory is that women are under-networked compared to their male peers, and miss out on high-paying job opportunities because of it. Women’s networking groups such as the Utah Women’s Forum may help address this problem.
“It was started back in the 80s by a handful of very bright, wonderful women. These were professionals who wanted to create an environment where they could support each othe and connect to make opportunities,” said Amy Wadsworth, the president of the Utah Women’s Forum.
The forum meets monthly to learn about community issues and new Utah laws and to help members develop professional connections.
“Our main goal is to be a network system and to meet people, and to help them make connections to other people we know. Networking in business happens in settings that are social in nature. The women’s forum is a different kind of club - I’m not sure that it may necessarily give access to the same groups, but it at least creates new pathways that are available to women,” Wadsworth said.
Wadsworth said that women have seen massive social change since the founding of the Utah Women’s Forum and she would like to see women’s status continue to improve. Currently the Utah Women’s Forum is trying to recruit the next generation of members.
“When women have a common voice or can be together it makes others feel encouraged to stand up as well. When you feel like you’re the only person, that can be really daunting,” Wadsworth said.