UTAH IS THE WORST STATE FOR WOMEN
Senator Luz Escamilla just submitted a proposal to fund a "Women's Compensation Study". Guess what -- the GOP men in the Senate shot down the bill. Imagine that! The Republican-led legislature snubs Utah women once again.
If you google, "The ten worst states for women", you will find the following USA TODAY article:
"These are the 10 worst states for women:
#1 Worst: UTAH
>Gender wage gap: 70 cents per dollar (2nd worst)
>Poverty rate, women: 13.6% (13th worst)
>Pct. in state legislature: 16.3% (6th worst)
>Infant mortality rate: 5.0 per 1,000 births (2nd worst)
>Children's sexual abuse: 27% (1st worst)
>Management positions: 31% (2nd worst)"
America's workforce is 47% women. Then why are women paid 70% as much as men in Utah? In contrast to this pay inequity, corporations who have women in leadership positions average 45% more profits. But, then, women are rarely seen in leadership positions. In fact, they hold most of the minimum wage jobs. And on top of this, they are expected, at least 70% of the time, to arrange for child care, to deliver and pick up children from daycare and kindergarten and to be the one who stays home with sick children. (Source: International Labor Organization -"Gender Inequality and Women in the US Labor Force".)
In spite of the fact that most men dislike this sexism and gender bias as much as women do, the studies show little improvement in the treatment of women. Although more marriages are becoming equal partnerships, business relationships are usually based on unequal hierarchies of power where men are bosses and women are subservient.
Most men would love to see the significant women in their lives get a 30% raise, or be able to get affordable child care, or be able to get family leave during important family events. Both women and men contribute in different ways to business and family. We need to have that joint influence in our legislative decision making process. But, again, rather than matching the demographics of Utah's population, we have only 6 women in the 29 member Utah Senate and 10 women in the 75 member Utah House.
According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half if women were paid the same as comparable men. (See: http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination#sthash.sNah1REc.dpuf)
We Utahns need to examine our treatment of women and take a deeper look into our values. Our Utah women are key to the future of this state. Only 28% of Utah women will earn a Bachelor's Degree while 33% of males will graduate. Many women can't wait to move out of this state at graduation.
Utah is wasting a tremendously valuable resource by snubbing and discriminating against its women. If we really want to improve Utah's economy, we must equally educate, equally pay, equally elect and equally respect Utah women. This effort begins with a "Women's Compensation Study". Please urge your legislators to support SB152 as proposed by Senator Escamilla.
Chuck Goode, Chair of the Washington County Democratic Party