Gender Wage Gap: (In)Equality in Utah

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: September 4, 2019) — This week on the program, we feature a panel discussion on the gender wage gap in Utah—the causes that drive it, its consequences for women and the economy and what policies effectively address the discrepancy.

The gender wage or pay gap refers to the difference in income between men and women across the economy and specifically for those doing the same work. In a study by the American Association of University Women, Utah and Louisiana had the largest wage gaps in the nation according to census data from 2016. In both states, U.S. women who worked full time and year-round on average earned only 70 cents on the dollar compared with men, with the higher national average resting at 80 cents.

This large gender wage gap contributed once again to Utah receiving WalletHub’s worst ranking in terms of women’s equality for the third year-in-a-row. The criteria WalletHub used was based on evaluations of the state’s workplace environment, education, health and political empowerment for women. Utah’s score was only a third of the top-ranked state, Hawaii, at 75.13 and 25.74, respectively. But to even rise above last place and surpass Idaho—ranked 49th—Utah would have to make significant gains over the next year.

Speaking on how Utah could achieve this are Günseli Berik, Professor in the Economics Department and Asian Studies Program at the University of Utah; Nilufer Cagatay, Co-Director and Professor of the University of Utah Economics Department; Claudia Geist, Associate Professor in the Gender Studies and Sociology Departments at the U; and Senator Luz Escamilla of the Utah State Legislature. Moderating the discussion is Juliette Tennert, Director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

This forum was co-sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and the Women’s Enrollment Initiative.

This forum was recorded on March 25th, 2019.

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