LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – Utah State University is working to gather data and information on Latina women in the state and hopefully settle issues of disparity.
The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) is creating a series of research reports to help understand the experiences of Utah women and girls.
In their studies, leaders found Latinas in Utah are less likely to have health insurance when compared to other women in the state. They also have less access to medical care, with 20% of Latinas reporting they forgo medical care due to cost.
“We have very little data on women of color’s health experience in Utah, we know nationally that women of color receive less access to healthcare and less equitable treatment in general. The little data we have in Utah is showing it’s happening here too,” says Jesse Hill, an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Department Chair for Utah Valley University.
Studies also show while Latinas in Utah have a higher labor force participation rate compared to other women in the state, the median personal income for Latinas is lower than the general median income for women in Utah.
“Latinas are participating in the workforce more, but they’re making less than men and less than Utah women in general, it’s 49 cents on the dollar whereas Utah women are making 70 cents on the dollar,” says Hill.
Leaders say according to the 5-year U.S. Census Microdata Utah Latinas are more likely to leave high school without a diploma and they earn bachelor’s degrees at much lower rates when compared to other women in the state.
“I think there are a lot of systems that have been built around the majority group, like education, it becomes a hurdle, I encourage institutions of higher education to approach Latinos in culturally sensitive ways, for example, during orientation,” Hill says.
Hill says information that helps understand the status and conditions within all social and identity groups, including race and ethnicity, is crucial to help local and state decision-makers address current needs.