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New brief shows Utah still has a long way to go with representation of women in politics

Utah Capitol Building
Gabriel Tovar
Utah Capitol Building

Founding Director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah State University Susan Madsen said UWLP didn’t originally plan to release a 2022 update on the status of women in Utah politics.

“There's been so much interest and some momentum that we really had so many requests, we needed to do another one,” Madsen said.

The policy brief concluded that Utah has made the most progress at the local level with mayors; however, Utah still lacks representation at the federal level, and although state legislature representation has improved since 2021, Utah is still behind.

“The nation has gone up. Utah's gone up. We continue to go up, but the nation continues to go up faster than Utah,” Madsen said “So it's good that we have more representation, but we're still below the national average.”

Madsen said it’s important to include women in political positions because their priorities tend to be different than men’s.

“When you look at the research around state legislatures in the United States, those that include more women tend to allocate funding differently than states that have less women,” Madsen said.

Women put more money toward education, healthcare, social policies, and domestic violence, said Madsen. Especially during the current legislative session, Madsen said it’s important that everyone work together to help with these issues.

“Male allies are stepping forward to help because they understand there's so many benefits when you have both men and women stepping forward,” Madsen said.

Madsen said she feels good about the direction Utah is heading, but there is still more progress to be made.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.