Press Release: Women’s Group Fails Utah on Women Issues

A new state-by-state analysis released today by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that Utah ranks last in the nation (50th) for political participation and 50th for work and family, receiving “F” grades in both areas. 

Political Participation and Work & Family are the final chapters from the Status of Women in the States: 2015 report, which uses a variety of data sources to measure and track trends in women’s status over time. The report and additional data on millennial women, older women, and LGBT women are available on the website (, along with detailed breakdowns by race/ethnicity.

Some of the key findings: 

Political Participation.  Utah has the lowest levels of women’s political participation in the nation, according to IWPR’s composite score.  The state ranks in the bottom ten for women’s voter registration (43rd), women’s voter turnout (46th), and women in elected office (44th), and is 36th for the number of institutional resources in the state. 

Work and Family.  Utah also has the lowest performance in a new composite score for state performance across three components of work-family policy – paid leave, dependent and elder care, and child care – and a fourth component, the gender gap in the labor force participation of parents of children under six, which, for IWPR analysts, highlights gender inequality in family care of young children.  Utah ranked 12th in the paid leave index, 39th on the elder and dependent care index, 48th on the child care index, and 51st on the gender gap in labor participation rates.

“It’s really time to get to work – to educate ourselves about what’s happening in Utah women’s lives; to work together across gender and political lines; and to create wise policies that are realistic and meaningful within a Utah context,” said Anne Burkholder, CEO of the YWCA Utah, which partnered with IWPR on a research briefing about Utah women last year.  “We all know that the quality of our daughters’ lives and our granddaughters’ lives will be absolutely fundamental to the strength of their families and their communities, and to the prosperity and future of our state.  What are we waiting for?”

The Status of Women in the States, a project of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research since 1996, also covers: Employment & Earnings, Poverty & Opportunity, Health and Well-Being, Reproductive Rights, and Violence and Safety.  The project is supported by the Ford Foundation, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Women’s Funding Network, as well as other foundations and organizations.

Since 1906 the YWCA Utah has advanced the well-being of women in key dimensions of their lives through direct programming, education, and advocacy designed to encourage their aspirations, protect their rights, and meet their changing needs.  The YWCA’s enduring belief has been that better lives for all women lead to stronger families and communities.  Current direct programming focuses on violence against women, early childhood education, and women’s leadership development.  Current research, education, and advocacy and public policy efforts focus on developing the new Utah Women’s Well-Being Initiative, which began in 2014 with the publication of The Well-Being of Women in Utah: An Overview, in partnership with IWPR.  For more information visit