Representation of women in Utah’s government

Utah is historically known for key advancements in women’s ability to participate in governance such as voting, advocacy and other acts of political involvement. However, Utah lacks female representation in its government. 

Former Cedar City Mayor Malie Wilson-Edwards was one of the few female mayors throughout Utah representing the disparity between female and male elected officials. 

The Utah Women & Leadership Project monitors the status of adding more female representatives to the state’s government. Since 2014, more women have been working in political positions. Research, as reported on by UPR, tends to confirm that when men and women work together in businesses, communities and states are more innovative and are more successful. 

Dr. Susan R. Madsen, a leadership and ethics professor at Utah Valley University, stated, “You have more options of things on the table when you bring people that are from different perspectives together.”

In 2021, Wallethub released a study evaluating each state on workplace environment, education, health and political empowerment. Utah was the last state on the list with a total score of 29.85% following Idaho which scored a 37.37%. 

Director of Public Policy at YMCA Utah Gabriella Archuleta stated, “There is a ‘juxtaposition’” between Utah’s strong economy during the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that women in the state “are still faring the worst in the United States.”

The political empowerment category was the biggest difference between Idaho and Utah. This value examines the number of women elected to federal and state jobs as well as state executive jobs. 

The Utah Women & Leadership Project released The Status of Women in Utah Politics: A 2022 Update, a study which examined the state’s political roles filled by women. 

The study found that no women are serving in Utah’s six congressional seats. The national average for women in these positions is 30% of congressional seats while Utah is currently at 0%.

The study found that 20% of the Utah State Executive Office seats are held by women, compared to 30% nationally and 26% of Utah State legislators are women, compared to 31.1% nationally. 

Former Utah State Rep. Becky Edwards is running for Senate this election cycle. If elected, she would be the first female senator for Utah — hopefully starting a trend of women attaining these government positions.

Article by: Danielle Meuret

Photo courtesy of Marco Oriolesi on Unsplash