LOGAN, Utah – The gender pay gap in Utah generally ranks among the highest in the country. A new report from the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University shows little is changing.
“Unfortunately, with our pay gap, not much has changed,” UWLP director Susan Madsen told ABC4.
Madsen is one of four authors to write a report titled “Utah Gender Wage Gap: A 2021 Update”. Although the report is the product of four authors, it is actually the product of hundreds of people. The authors compiled research data from 60 sources and asked more than half a dozen other organizations to review the completed report.
This new report comes about four years after WWLP’s last as a follow-up. “We want to make sure that when we release this, it is actually the latest data from different perspectives, employers, the state and people who know how to do census data,” Madsen explained.
The report shows that women in Utah earn about 30% less than men. Nationally, women earn about 18% less.
Madsen told ABC4 that Utah almost always ranks last for women’s wages. She pointed out how well the state’s economy is doing right now and noted that to make it even bigger, it’s a title the Utahns need to work on in order to change. She said it could help attract tourists, businesses and other organizations that will bring more income to the state.
According to Madsen, there are a few major factors that play into this wage gap in Utah. One of these factors is social structure. “We actually have more of a traditional society,” she explained. “We have more distinct roles between men and women and some of these things really create bigger gaps. “
Research cited in the report shows that some of these roles mean that Utah women entering the workforce are less likely to earn graduate degrees that help get better paying jobs, are less likely likely to pursue better-paying careers in general for jobs that fall. in the social norm for Utah women and are less likely to negotiate a salary. “When we do it, there is reluctance from both men and women,” Madsen added. “Like, ‘Why are they asking for more? It’s a little selfish. Oh, this is interesting. It is not an easy subject.
Madsen told ABC4 to change to close the wage gap in Utah, public perception, business practices and state policy will have to change. She said: “We need to change not only for women, but for children, and for families and for our society.
Madsen explained that research shows the wage gap is only getting worse for women of color and single mothers. Both of these demographics are growing in the state. “If you are a single mother in the state of Utah, 40% of you will be living in poverty. 40 percent, ”she said. This, she said, sets the next generation up for failure.
Madsen told ABC4 that the Utah Women & Leadership Project used the compiled data to draft legislative recommendations to narrow the gender pay gap.