Utah Women & Leadership Project releases report on women leaders in Utah public education
A new research brief, released by the Utah Women & Leadership Project, explores the current status of women leaders in Utah public education (K-12).
The Utah Women & Leadership Project released a new research brief on May 20 centering around the status of women leaders in Utah Public Education, specifically women who work in grades K-12.
Susan Madsen, Director of the Utah Women & Leadership project, said she and her team constantly write reports and conduct research surrounding women in Utah K-12 education and higher education to study if progress is being made regarding whether or not women are occupying leadership roles such as assistant principals, principals, or even superintendents.
“What we know is, and we call it a pipeline issue, we start at one end with a lot of women being teachers and being engaged, and by the time you get up to superintendent there are mostly men, very few women,” Madsen said.
Findings of this study conclude there are currently 454 females serving in state and district leadership ranks within public education—that is 50%, compared to 41.5% in 2017. Though the number of female representatives in Utah education has increased, the percentage of Utah females in principal roles is lagging behind national rates.
In fact, Utah high school principals, middle school principals, and high school assistant principals have the lowest representation of females.
Madsen said most women enter jobs in education wanting to be teachers and stay in that role for their whole career without much movement into other leadership roles—this is different for their male counterparts.
“In education, women typically go in and want to be teachers and think about being a teacher their whole career," Madsen said. "Well, men want to be teachers, but also many men from the start say ‘I want to be a principal,’ or an administrator, and women don’t tend to do that.”
Madsen said representatives from Utah’s K-12 schools are actively setting goals to improve organizational performance through increased diversity in leadership. She said women in leadership positions offer more diverse pathways to better decision making and more inclusivity and cooperation within the workplace.