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Recent study ranks Utah last in women equality

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Kailey Foster: You are listening to Utah Public Radio. I'm Kaylee Foster. In 2021 WalletHub had Utah ranked worst day in the nation for women's equality for the fourth year in a row, Utah Woman in Leadership Project, Susan Madsen took a look at the metrics used for this ranking. Were. And she joins us today to talk about her research.

So the study looks at WalletHub’s ranking but you also mentioned that Utah doesn't rank well on others as well. What type of things do these rankings look for?

Susan Madsen: Well, each of them is a little bit different. So, one of the things I've been tracking for probably 10 years is some various rankings. WalletHub is the one that's consistent each year. And then some other ones have just put rankings out in different kinds of ways. And it's always gender equality, one that we're really at the bottom

And they have 17 indicators. But there are many [indicators] on the workplace environment. And then the second big section, so only three indicators in this, but they're around education and, and health. And then the last chunk, there's four on that one around what's called political power. So political empowerment really does affect the workplace environment, education, all of them interact with each other.

KF: Yeah, and so kind of going along that what does this tell us about our society here in Utah, especially compared to other states in the United States?

SM: One of the things I have to say is, I love being a woman and I love living in Utah. I have to say that there are so many good things about Utah. Yet, there are things that we need to tweak or change and improve, particularly in the gender equity and equality area.

And so, with this metric and study, it really doesn't highlight any of the things that we do well. We are really graded in the home living area and in volunteerism and those things.

But when we will look at this one, it really does mean we get hit hard with things like the gender wage gap, We do know that we're lagging in terms of education; this particular WalletHub metrics look at graduate education. So, we're getting better with men and women in the state getting their bachelor's degrees, but we're the lowest by far of women getting their graduate degrees.

What we know from the research is oftentimes more religious societies do have fewer women in power, have fewer women in higher educational levels, and have less equality and workplaces.

So, all of those things, as I said, there's, there's some that we're better at than others, but the equality, you know, metrics don't highlight what women excel out in Utah.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.