Utah ranks near the bottom in ‘State of Women in America’ report

Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-29 21:00:54-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A study done by the Center for American Progress came back with some unflattering results for Utah women.

The study examined three categories it views as critical to a woman’s overall well-being:  economics, health and leadership.

If you wanted to find where Utah ranked on the various tables and charts, you simply had to look to the bottom almost every single time.

The recent report card for women in Utah wasn't happily received, but many admitted they weren't surprised either.

“Well obviously I think it’s really unfair,” Janelle Hartung said. “Not that it’s right, but I think Utah is behind the times in a lot of ways.”

Shauna Scott-Bellaccomo is the chair of the Salt Lake County Women’s Democratic Caucus, and she said the study’s results were disheartening.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still saddens me that women in this state cannot be paid or treated equally,” she said.

The fact that Scott-Bellaccomo carries a title makes her a minority in Utah. According to the study, which looked at factors like overall wage gap, women holding office, and women uninsured, overall Utah received a failing grade. The state ranked 49th, just above dead last Louisiana.

“We would like to see the culture change," Scott-Bellaccomo said. "We would like to see women being paid what they are worth."

Utah was ranked 47th for the gap in men's and women's wages, and the state ranked last in terms of women holding leadership roles.

State Rep. Rebecca Chavez Houck, D – District 24, said a leadership role can start small; she said just serving on a school board or neighborhood committee is a good place to start because it opens the door for future possibility.

"Then we see those women moving forward in the future, running for public office,” she said. “But I think sometimes women shortchange themselves. They figure that, 'Well that should be someone else’s job. I can't do that. I don’t have the time.’ But  you think about all of the different things that women do in terms of multitasking, and I think that’s why we make such great political leaders.”

To view the study in full, click here: State of Women Report

There is a local movement going on as some women work to change the numbers demonstrated in the study. Visit the links below for more information.

Real Women Run

Women's Democratic Club