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Utah women lag behind men in wages, education


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Utah has the largest gap in the nation between male and female college-graduation rates. 26% of Utah women have a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 32% of Utah men.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Earlier this year women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in history. The Atlantic magazine declared the end of men in this month's issue because women appear to be taking control of everything from home finances to the board room.

While many women are leading, here in Utah women lag behind men in education and wages.

Tech students at Neumont University in South Jordan are all for equality.

Student Kevin Gasca says, "I say we all rule the world some way, somewhat equally."


Utah has the fourth largest wage gap in the nation. Women make only 69% of what men earn. The national average is 78%.

But when it comes to finding a job, not all is equal. Women have better options.

University spokeswoman Stacy Hughes says, "They have more positions to consider and they make more money when they start out of school."

She says that's because female students are more promotable.

"They do really well in management roles and companies are willing to pay a little bit more for someone who can move into management quickly and easily," Hughes explains.

According to the article in The Atlantic magazine, most middle managers are now women. More women are also graduating from college, but that's not true in Utah.

Economist Lecia Parks Langston says, "Here in Utah, even though we think we are really well educated, our men are doing well at getting college education. Our women are not doing quite as well."

**Education Gap Bachelor's Degree**

Women
26% Utah
27% Nation

Men
32% Utah
28% Nation

Utah by far shows the largest gap in the nation between male and female college-graduation rates. Twenty-six percent of Utah women have a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 32 percent of Utah men. That could be one of the reasons Utah women earn less.

"I think culturally a lot of women think they are not going to work and they end up working," Langston says.

They often end up in lower-paying jobs, she adds.


74% of Utah women with school-age children work. -Utah Department of Work Force Services

Utah has the fourth largest wage gap in the nation. Women here make only 69 percent of what men earn. The national average is 78 percent.

"When you look at occupations as a group, nationally women are a lot more likely to go into higher paying, what used to be male-dominated occupations, than are Utah women," Langston says.

More Utah women are in the labor force than the national average. According to the Utah Department of Work Force Services, 74 percent of Utah women with school-age children work.

E-mail: cmadsen@ksl.com

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Candice Madsen

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