UTAH

Dickson: A salute to Utah women

May 12, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: May 13, 2024, 4:16 pm

KSL NewsRadio's Amanda Dickson gives thanks to Utah women and mother's everywhere this Mother's Day. (Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

I have been a mother for the last one third of my life. The first two thirds, until I was 40, I could not not claim that title. On this Mother’s Day, I want to salute all of the women of our state, whether they have children or not, whether they care for children or not.

From where I sit, our communities and our lives are so intertwined. I am able to be a radio announcer and college professor because of the dozens of teachers and mentors who inspired me. Some of those people were women. Some of those women were mothers. ALL of them had a profound effect on my life.

I have had a firsthand look at the hard work of teaching in K-12 this year as a substitute teacher in the Jordan and Salt Lake school districts. In the nearly 40 different jobs I’ve had in my life, I have never seen any profession work harder. I’ve never felt that kind of stress in any other setting.

I acknowledge that daily stress and physical and psychological demands are common to many jobs, both in and out of the home, and it is for that reason that I want to salute all Utah women on this day.

Research on challenges Utah women face

I read a research brief recently entitled Eleven Major Challenges Utah Women Face. It was done by the Utah Women and Leadership Project, founded and directed by Dr. Susan Madsen.

“3,500 people participated in the study,” Madsen explained. “2,433 gave qualitative answers. They wrote sentences and paragraphs. From those detailed responses, 11 topics rose to the top.”

The top one was lack of recognition, undervalued. That included things like sexism, bias and discrimination. Over a thousand people said that in Utah. Nearly a third of the respondents to the survey said this was a challenge for them.

Today I address that challenge directly, one I have certainly felt at different times in my life. I want to tell these women how much I appreciate you. I value what you do, what gets you up in the morning, the smile you give to others, the way you add to the neighborhood you live in, the way you encourage people on social media. My life would be so much less colorful without you.

Harassment

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that 1 in 10 respondents in the survey, 355 women, said they are experiencing abuse, assault or harassment today. Look around your neighborhood, your workplace. One out of every 10 women is experiencing this abuse TODAY!

“They asked the question, ‘If you reported a sexual harassment in your organization, do you trust that your organization would do something?'” Madsen explained. “The response was no. The organizations are going to cover. They’re not going to really care about their employees. We have some interesting data to support what we’re talking about.”

This ought to be a wakeup call to HR directors all over the state. It ought to be a wakeup call to all of us. There is harassment and abuse going on right in front of us. Why aren’t we seeing it? Why aren’t we stopping it?

Beyond flowers

Giving flowers on Mother’s Day is lovely, I sent my mother flowers every year until she passed 15 years ago. I am grateful to my own children and husband for wanting to love me in this way.

I just want to add something to this ritual. The women you encounter every day are all contributing to the quality of your life. Whether they are mothers or not, whether they are teaching your children or not. (Of course, the same is true for men. Gratefully men don’t seem to feel the same lack of recognition.)

Thanking the women you work with, the women you encounter every day, for what they do will cost you absolutely nothing. It isn’t subject to inflation, it applies across political parties and t is merely a gesture of gratitude and compassion that will go a long way to enriching all of our lives.

Thank you for reading – and Happy Mother’s Day.

Related:

Dickson: Mother’s Day gifts we moms really want

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Dickson: A salute to Utah women