UTAH (ABC4) – For decades, the state of Utah has fallen short compared to the rest of the nation regarding women in leadership political roles.
The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) began conducting research on women in Utah politics in 2014 and have since updated their findings.
“The reports are intended as a snapshot to identify if changes have been made,” said Susan Madsen, UWLP founding director and one of five report authors. “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.”
Records show that only four Utah women have served in congress since 1896. Of Utah’s six seats in its national delegation, none of the seats are currently held by women.
However, Utah is one of just 17 states with a female lieutenant governor. Compared to the nation’s 30% average of women in executive offices, Utah lags behind at 20%.
Additionally, 26% (27 of 104) of Utah legislators are women, compared to 31.1% nationally.
In the state of Utah, 15.3% of county commission and council seats are held by women, compared to the nation’s average of 54.7%.
Research shows that 23.8% of Utah mayors are women, a 6.5% jump since 2021.
Although the numerical data shows Utah’s failure to meet the nation’s expectations for women in leadership roles, the data also portrays slightly more women beginning to fill political chairs in the state.
“While we believe the tide is turning, understanding and removing the barriers women face when running for public office in Utah are critical to moving forward,” said Madsen. “We encourage Utah leaders and residents to do more to implement and support these efforts. 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.”