Even though women make up half the population of Utah, there are just a handful of them in the Utah Legislature.
Sen. Deidre Henderson says she recognizes the need for more women on the Hill, but she worries moving from the caucus system to a direct primary will make running for office tougher for them.
“It takes mentoring, reaching out, education, which is what I love about the caucus system,” says Henderson. “I would love to help other women step into those roles, but if you have a direct primary system, where big money. It will take so much more money to run for office it will be prohibitive for women to run.”
Henderson says the biggest hurdle for women running for office is fundraising.
“If I had to raise 100,000 or 200,000 dollars I would never been able to do it. I’ve had to spend about $20,000 on my race.”
Henderson says more opportunities are popping up for women who want to run for office, but there’s still a long way to go.
“Since I got involved six years ago, I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of women’s groups on both sides of the aisle that are out there trying to encourage women to step forward and learn the process. It takes women who have already been in those positions to reach out to other women and say ‘We need you. It’s important for your voice to be heard.'”