Women in state leadership roles increasing in Utah

Jun 4, 2024, 9:00 PM

A State of Utah emblem is displayed in the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024....

A State of Utah emblem is displayed in the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

SALT LAKE CITY — Female state government employees are increasing in number in Utah.

Overall, 41.4% of managerial, leadership, and supervisory positions in Utah government are held by women. That’s a 2.1% increase from 2020, according to a Utah Women and Leadership Project report.

The new study follows a similar work conducted in 2020, and it’s the first of three reports on Utah women in government expected to be released this year.

“It’s been (an) intentional decision, intentional work, and that’s why we’re seeing the progress,” said Dr. Susan Madsen, director of the UWLP.

What the research found about Utah women in leadership roles

The research found: 

  • that women comprise 42.2% of front-line leadership positions, a 1% increase from 2020,
  • women in senior leadership roles increased by 10%,
  • women fill 30.4% of cabinet-level roles, up 3.3% from 2020, and
  • over 60% of leaders in public education, cultural and community engagement, and health and human services are women.

“The research continues to tell us that we serve the people in our state, in our communities, when there are more equal numbers of men and women,” said Madsen.

Utah bucked at least one trend in leadership roles

And Utah proved to be an outlier in a national trend that shows agencies or companies with larger budgets have fewer female employees.

The new data from UWLP showed women account for 51.5% of leaders in Utah government, which appears in the “largest budget category,” ranging from $900 million to $9 billion. 

“Typically when you have companies, organizations, agencies that have bigger budgets, you tend to see less women,” said Dr. Madsen.

“You tend to see more women in agencies or companies (with) smaller budgets … that didn’t play out here in Utah.”

The Utah Women and Leadership Project will release similar reports later this year. But, they’ll focus on the number of Utah women in county governments and municipalities.

This series of reports will continue every three to four years according to Madsen. The group hopes to track Utah’s progress with women in state government roles.

Other reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

View of Salt Lake City pictured, governor is cracking down on denver sending immigrants to utah...

Aimee Cobabe

Utah governor’s office pushing back against Denver for bussing immigrants to Utah

Gov. Spencer Cox's office says that the City of Denver did not consult with them about sending immigrants to Utah.

3 hours ago

The Capitol is pictured in Salt Lake City, the governor hascalled a special session...

Sam Herrera and Jessica Lowell

Gov. Cox calls special legislative session to be held on Juneteenth

The special legislative session happens on Juneteenth. The governor's office said it would observe Juneteenth on Monday rather than Wednesday.

8 hours ago

A Biden-Harris campaign sign is seen among signs for other Utah Democratic Party candidates during ...

Eric Cabrera

Stealing campaign signs could get you a misdemeanor charge

Police say stealing campaign signs from your neighbor's lawn could cost you a misdemeanor, or even the right to vote.

11 hours ago

Image of GOP primary candidates for Utah's 1st Congressional District, Paul Miller (left) and the i...

Curt Gresseth

Utah’s GOP primary: Miller challenging Moore in 1st District

In the Republican primary, Paul Miller is challenging incumbent Rep. Blake Moore for Utah's 1st Congressional District.

15 hours ago

As the push to the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate heats up, one candidate appears to ...

Daniel Woodruff, ksl.com

Brad Wilson appears to be pulling back in U.S. Senate race

As the push to the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate heats up, Brad Wilson appears to be slowing down.

16 hours ago

This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candida...

Heather Peterson

Presidential election approaches, and Utah has donated more to Biden

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, donations for President Joe Biden's campaign in Utah are outpacing those of Donald Trump.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Women in state leadership roles increasing in Utah