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Utah gets a C-minus on women's wages and employment compared to other states

FILE: Mily Santos, Department of Workforce Services employment counselor, helps Glenda Morataya log in to apply for unemployment benefits at the Department of Workforce Services in Taylorsville on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

FILE: Mily Santos, Department of Workforce Services employment counselor, helps Glenda Morataya log in to apply for unemployment benefits at the Department of Workforce Services in Taylorsville on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY — A new report ranking women's wages and employment compared to other states gave Utah a C-minus grade.

But one local researcher says she's encouraged by this ranking.

"Utah has a C-minus. Actually, I'm kind of encouraged by that, I know that might not sound great to be encouraged by that, but we've made some progress," said Utah Women and Leadership Project Director Dr. Susan Madsen.

The report is from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Their annual Status of Women in the States Employment and Earnings Index uses "a combination of states' performance on four indicators: (1) women's earnings, (2) the gender wage gap, (3) women's labor force participation, and (4) women's representation in managerial and professional occupations."

Utah ranked 34th out of 51 states, for a grade of a C-minus.

C-minus for Utah wages actually represents improvement

Madsen said Utah has gotten D's and F's in this report in years past.

She says the report shows we've improved on things like women's wages in Utah, the percentage of women in managerial positions, and women in the workforce.

"We have more women in the labor force than many states, so we're 12th in the nation in terms of the percentage of women in the labor force. What we do know, however, is that we have significantly more women working part time."

A recent study gave Utah a C-minus when it comes to women's wages and employment in the state.
A recent study gave Utah a C-minus when it comes to women's wages and employment in the state. (Photo: Institute for Women's Policy Research)

But Madsen says it's that wage gap where Utah still struggles.

"According to the report, it's 70.2 cents to the dollar of a full-time white man versus a woman that's working full time. So we're 50th."

All in all, Madsen says while this report is encouraging there is still more work to do.

According to the report, the District of Columbia held on to the top overall ranking on the index, maintaining its A grade. West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Wyoming rank at the bottom of the Index.

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Lindsay Aerts

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