The Well-Being of Women in Utah in 2019: Fact Sheet
The Well-Being of Women in Utah in 2019 Fact Sheet presented at the second annual Utah Women’s Policy Conference on August 15, 2019, follows up the YWCA’s 2014 briefing, also published in conjunction with Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, DC. This report highlights gains Utah women and girls have seen in the past four years, as well as areas where they continue to struggle or have lost ground.
The Well-Being of Women in Utah
YWCA Utah’s vision is that all Utah women are thriving and leading the lives they choose, with their strength benefiting their families, communities, and the state as a whole. YWCA Utah and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) have partnered to publish this 2018 fact sheet on the well-being of women in Utah as part of IWPR’s Status of Women in the States project. We are proud to provide a reliable resource, with particular focus on the intersection of race and ethnicity with gender, and further encourage exploration, community collaboration, and policy change for the benefit of the entire state.
This fact sheet builds upon the briefing paper published in 2014 by IWPR and YWCA Utah, The Well-Being of Women in Utah: An Overview, and IWPR’s Status of Women in the States 2015. The 2018 fact sheet compares indicators of women’s well-being to the same indicators from the 2015 report, where available, and lays the foundation for what will become an annual snapshot of Utah women’s well-being in key dimensions of their lives.
As of 2016, women in Utah still work outside of the home at similar rates to women nationally and—while not yet at the same levels as U.S. women—they also continue to pursue business ownership, make progress in educational attainment, and overcome some aspects of poverty. Utah women, however, still face significant challenges and lag behind both women nationally and Utah men in earnings and leadership opportunities in the workplace and the political sphere, as well as educational attainment beyond the bachelor’s degree level. These gaps widen for women of color in Utah. A notably higher wage gap and lower bachelor’s degree attainment among Hispanic and Native American women are just two examples of significant racial disparities experienced by Utah women.
While Utah women are less likely to report experiencing violence than women nationally as of 2012, one in three women in the state experiences violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. In comparison with the 2015 report and women nationally, the data also point to a troubling trend indicating that more Utah women are losing their lives to suicide.
Policy changes must be holistic in their approach, taking into account the unique backgrounds, circumstances, and obstacles facing women and families in Utah. Closing the gender wage gap and addressing the needs of workers striving for self-sufficiency are key to sustaining Utah’s economy and ability to attract new business. Policies that improve workplace flexibility and access to paid family leave can address workers’ diverse caregiving responsibilities and help employers hire and retain highly skilled workers in a tight labor market. Policies to address violence against women, or to support women experiencing mental health challenges, must also be considered within a broader context. Solutions to these complex problems require consideration of many overlapping issues such as access to health care, affordable housing, and economic opportunity in general.
While an annual data profile cannot possibly include every indicator that is important to Utah women, or address the complex and varied reasons for current trends, it does present a representative baseline from which to explore policy changes that can improve women’s lives. YWCA Utah shares this fact sheet to increase knowledge and awareness about the well-being of women in Utah and to promote statewide policy change based on shared values and a common desire to make Utah an even better place to live, work, raise a family, and build strong, prosperous communities.
About YWCA Utah
YWCA Utah is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
YWCA Utah advances the well-being of women in Utah through safety, opportunity, and advocacy. Since 1906 the YWCA has designed its work to encourage women’s aspirations, protect and promote their rights, and meet their changing needs. The YWCA’s enduring belief has been that better lives for all women lead to stronger families, communities, and societies.
Current direct programming focuses on violence against women, early childhood education, and women’s leadership development. Research, issue education, and public policy advocacy efforts focus on developing the Utah Women’s Well-Being Initiative.
About the Institue for Women’s Policy Research
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. The Institute’s research strives to give voice to the needs of women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds across the income spectrum and to ensure that their perspectives enter the public debate on ending discrimination and inequality, improving opportunity, and increasing economic security for women and families. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groups to design, execute, and disseminate research and to build a diverse network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR’s work is supported by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics at American University.
YWCA Utah Public Policy Advocacy
YWCA Utah advocates for women and girls in Utah. We are a statewide voice for change on issues critical to the well-being of Utah women and girls.