Utah Women, Poverty and Education

In the recent Utah Women and Leadership Project Research Snapshot on Poverty Among Utah Women, the relationship between education level and being able to rise above the poverty level is clear.

From the snapshot:

The gender wage gap in Utah is one of the highest in the nation; women are much more likely to work minimum wage jobs, and women in Utah have lower levels of educational achievement—particularly at the bachelor’s degree level and higher—than women across the nation. Utah women within specific demographics (including certain ethnic and racial groups) are even more likely to experience poverty.

Women who are their “head of household” with no spouse present have a much higher rate of poverty. The highest rate is for single women with children under 5 – almost half, at 46.9%.

Women fill lower wage jobs in Utah, holding 65% of jobs paying $10.10 per hour or less, while comprising 44% of the workforce and Utah leads the nation in the percentage of employed women who work part-time instead of full-time. 

Utah’s wage gap is exacerbated by a lack of educational attainment. At all levels, “men earn more than women who have achieved a higher level of education: men with a high school diploma earn more than women with an associate’s degree, men with a bachelor’s earn more than women with a graduate degree, and so forth.” 

There is also a ripple effect when women are able to climb out of poverty. Their children have better nutrition and healthcare, leading to more success in school and as adults, breaking a cycle that sometimes has gone on for generations. The importance of women completing a college education cannot be overstated.

To read the entire brief, visit the Utah Women & Leadership Project website here

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