LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) — The percentage of Utah women serving in politics has always been much lower than the national average, according to this study. However, in 2023, the percentage of women in politics in Utah has seen an increase and is closer to the national average in some categories.
The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) has reported on the status of women in politics in 2014, 2017, 2021, 2022, and now 2023.
“The reports are intended to be a snapshot to identify if changes have been made,” said Susan Madsen, UWLP founding director. “It is also a call to action for Utah residents and leaders to encourage and support future efforts to diversify voices on Utah’s Capitol Hill and in our cities, towns, and counties around the state.”
The research findings show the percentage of women in political positions in Utah compared with the national average and are categorized by political office.
In Utah, the average of women serving as state legislators is slowly rising, as the national average rises as well. You can see that in the graph below, which compares Utah’s statistics with national, according to the data found in the study.
According to the study, in the category of statewide executive office seats, Utah has 20% females in these positions compared to the nation at 30.3%. These offices are governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, and state treasurer. Utah is one of only 21 states with a female lieutenant governor.
In Utah, while more women are elected as politicians, UWLP said that Utah still has a ways to go. As of right now, Utah does not have a female congress member representing the state. Utah had Mia Love serving in Congress from 2015 through 2019, but now all Utah congress members are male. UWLP notes that Utah’s 0% in this category is a lot lower than the national average, which is 27.9%.
Madsen said that while the tide is turning, removing barriers women face when running for public office in Utah is critical moving forward. UWLP reports societal attitudes, poor treatment of female candidates who run, biases in part politics that keep women from running, and the way women are treated in the media, as some factors for why women do not run for office.
“We encourage Utah leaders and residents to do more to implement and support these efforts,” Madsen said. “Research continues to confirm that when both men and women serve together in communities, counties, and states, all residents are better served and are more likely to thrive.”