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Utah Women and Leadership Project releases report on Pacific Islander women

Three Pacific Islander Women smiling
Pacific Islander Women

The Utah Women and Leadership project typically focuses on gender, but founding director Susan Madsen said they wanted to release snapshots that zero-in on different minority groups.

“If you don't take into account the perception and circumstances and lived experiences of women in different ethnic groups, you know, there's something missing there,” Madsen said.

Pacific Islander women are the subject of the first snapshot in the series. Madsen said one key area they focused on was health.

“Pacific Islander women forgo medical care due to costs,” Madsen said. “They are less likely to have a personal doctor, less likely to receive preventative care, more likely to experience poor health outcomes.”

Another section, particularly interesting to Madsen, she said is education.

“Pacific Islander women are more likely to end their education with high school diplomas than all women in the state, less likely to attain a bachelor's degree, and actually the lowest college enrollment rate of all racial and gender subgroups that we had,” Madsen said.

But even with these findings, Madsen said there needs to be more. She said UWLP found it was difficult to get ahold of important statistics related to minority groups in Utah, and she said that needs to change.

“We need to ask more demographic questions related to gender and race in a lot of other things that we're doing as researchers, but also the state government, and local governments as well,” Madsen said.

There will be five snapshots total in the series with the next four Madsen said focusing on Asian, Hispanic, Black and Native American Women.