Utah State University researcher offers suggestions to improve Utah’s women’s equality score
Utah has ranked as the worst state for women’s equality for four years in a row in analyses from the personal finance website Wallethub.
Susan Madsen, the director of Utah State University's Utah Women and Leadership Project, published a paper this week with suggestions to improve the state’s ranking. It was commissioned by Zions Bank.
The Wallethub analysis looked at workplace environment, education, health and political empowerment.
Madsen offered five suggestions that would give the “most bang for the buck” to improve the state’s ranking:
- Elect a woman to represent Utah in the U.S. Senate
- Elect women to two of the state’s four Congressional seats
- Increase the percentage of women who receive graduate degrees
- Decrease the disparity in 8th grade math scores by one point
- Decrease the disparity in women’s perceptions of how affordable doctor visits are by 50%
In addition, Madsen said decreasing the wage gap would have a huge impact.
“We get dinged so much in Utah for the wage gap,” she said. “It really relates to so many of the other indicators that we've talked about. All of those pieces come together.”
But Madsen said the metrics the Wallethub analysis uses aren’t necessarily the gold standard. She argued they don’t accurately capture unpaid labor like childcare, for example.
“We need to respect choices that women make,” she said. “We need to make sure they know their options and hopefully everybody needs to be educated the best.”
Madsen also pointed out that Utah ranks 28th in a Wallethub list of best places for women overall.