Utah has the second worst gender wage gap in the US, report says

Dec 3, 2018, 2:29 PM
Utah Gender Wage Gap...
Utah has the second worst gender wage gap in the United States, according to a recent report by the American Association of University Women. (Image: AAUW)
(Image: AAUW)

Utah has the second-worst gender wage gap in the U.S., according to the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee.

Their report puts Utah behind every state, including the District of Columbia, with the sole exception of Louisiana. Women in Utah make an average of 71 cents for every $1 made by men, lagging behind the national average of 80.5 cents per dollar.

The news has lawmakers in the state scrambling for solutions. And this year, the Salt Lake Chamber and The Women’s Leadership held a press conference on Friday to address the problem, announcing the release of their “Best Practices Guide for Closing the Gender Wage Gap.”

KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Duajnovic spoke with Deseret News’s Jasen Lee about the conference and about what he thinks can be done to put an end to Utah’s wage gap problem.

Closing the Gender Wage Gap

Closing the Gender Wage Gap

Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek Miller and Patricia Jones, CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute, speak during a press conference on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo: Marisa Bomis / Salt Lake Chamber)

The solution, Lee says, lies with men; especially male employers. He says: “Men have to become allies or advocates for all employees, regardless of gender.”

Business owners, according to Lee, don’t always realize how big the gender wage gap in Utah really is. Even employers who don’t consciously discriminate against female employees can have implicit biases that might be affecting wages without their realizing it.

“Review all of your pay and salary criteria,” Lee says. “Make sure they’re even.”

Some of those issues might not be as obvious as a blatant policy to pay women left. Instead, the wage gap might be caused by problems that indirectly affect women’s wages, such as salary negotiations and taking time off work to care for children.

Women are far more likely to take time off work to care for children. According to the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of mothers say that they have taken a “significant amount” of time off to take care of their families, compared to just 24 percent of men.

A lot of that has to do with social pressures. The same study found that 88 percent of Americans do not believe that women with young children should work full time.

Lee, however, believes that women shouldn’t be penalized for taking care of their families.

“[Family] is something, in Utah, we espouse greatly. We want our families to be the first and most important things in our lives,” he says. “So should we, then, penalize the people who put the most responsibility in maintain that family?”

Lee argues that it is not a given that women should be paid less for taking time off to care of the kids. “It depends on the mindset of the employer,” he says.

“There’s always going to be people that want to argue that there’s all these varieties of reasons why women are paid less, but what you can’t really argue is that they do make less,” Lee says. “It doesn’t matter why. … Everybody should be paid the same if they’re doing the same job.”

More to the story

You can hear Jasen Lee’s full interview with KSL Newsradio on the Debbie & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google Play Music

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

Utah disaster funding earthquake study...
Simone Seikaly

What Utah can expect from federal funding after a disaster like Ian

What can those in Utah expect from federal disaster funding when a natural disaster on par with Hurricane Ian hits home?
3 days ago
u of u student arrested...
Waverly Golden

Other paths to consider when thinking about attending college

Following the student loan forgiveness announcement, college is on everyone's mind. Dave Noriega takes an in-depth look at the alternatives.
7 days ago
Utah Democrats Gene Davis...
Simone Seikaly

Attorney for Sen. Gene Davis says Davis won’t resign from the Utah Senate

The Salt Lake County Democratic Party asked for Davis to resign immediately because of allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
10 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
11 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
15 days ago
centerville arson fire...
Curt Gresseth

What’s behind random acts of violence in Utah?

What's behind a recent spate of random violence in Uta?. A sleeping couple at home in West Valley City is stabbed by an intruder. A stranger enters a home with three elderly people in Centerville and burns it down. Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst breaks down what he thinks is motivating young people to commit random acts of violence.
16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah has the second worst gender wage gap in the US, report says