By Susan R. Madsen

Across the country, schools have come to a close and, for better or worse, students’ grades have been posted. Similarly the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C., has just issued its annual “Status of Women in the States,” which grades and ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on the most recent Employment and Earnings Index (2019).

And like a parent who has come to dread report cards due to a kid’s poor performance, I open these reports with a mix of hope and apprehension, wondering if Utah will once again be at the bottom when evaluating the status of women. But the research from 2019 is encouraging. While we are not at the head of the class, we are making progress in some areas.

We know that since the pandemic, women have been especially hard hit in the workforce, sometimes referred to as the “pink recession” or the “she-cession.” To understand the full impact on women’s employment and earning, we need to know women’s status before COVID, and get a baseline with which to compare. Nationally, in 2019 more women were in the workforce than ever before, they were entering managerial and professional positions at growing rates, and the gender wage gap was narrowing. But what about Utah?

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