It is an important issue
Looking out the window was a view of Main Street and downtown Salt Lake City as the city was awakening for a new day of business and enterprise.
It was early morning and the sun was rising when the meeting was held in a Board Room on the 18th Floor of the Zions Bank Headquarters Building on South Temple. A group of around 100 people had gathered together to have breakfast and hear some important information about women in Utah. They had been invited by Scott Anderson, President and CEO of Zions Bank.
Sui Lang Panoke, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Zions Bank was involved with planning and presenting the meeting. First Lady Abby Cox was in attendance.
The main speaker was Dr. Susan R. Madsen, Director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project, and affiliated with Utah State University. She spoke about Women's Equality in Utah. She discussed the report Women's Equality in Utah, "Why Utah is Ranked as the Worst State, and What Can Be Done," by Susan R. Madsen and Greg P. Madsen. The white paper was commissioned by Zions Bank, which was the host of the meeting.
As stated in their literature, "The mission of the Utah Women and Leadership Project (UWLP) is to strengthen the impact of Utah girls and women. We serve Utah and its residents by 1) producing relevant, trustworthy, and applicable research; 2) creating and gathering valuable resources; and 3) convening trainings and events that inform, inspire, and ignite growth and change for all Utahns." The website is www.utwomen.org.
Dr. Madsen discussed Workplace Environment which included: Income disparity, higher income disparity, disparity in share of executive positions, disparity in share of minimum wage workers, unemployment rate disparity, entrepreneurship rate disparity, disparity in average number of work hours, job security disparity, economic security disparity, and disparity in poverty rate.
The top issue was in the area of Education and Health which included: disparity in advanced educational attainment, disparity in math test scores, and disparity in doctor visit affordability.
The last area was Political Empowerment which included: disparity in the share of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, disparity in the share of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, disparity in the share of lawmakers in the State Legislature, and disparity in the share of state-elected executives.
Dr. Madsen discussed recommendations for Utah Decision Makers to remedy the disparities and bring more equity for women in Utah. Electing more women to political offices and having more women owned businesses were some of the recommendations along with getting more women in the top executive positions of businesses within the state.
Girls and women in Utah can feel confident in the fact that there are people working for their benefit to bring more equity to women in the state. It may take a lot of work to move up in the rankings of all the United States, but there are many working toward the goal of more equality for women in Utah.