As Utah honors many significant women’s voting rights anniversaries in 2020, including the 150th anniversary of suffrage, the rich history of Utah women and their many impacts on the state was on the mind of Utah State University’s Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, Patrick Mason. In response, he created and is executive producing a new podcast series called “This is Her Place,” to tell the stories of Utah women, past and present.
Debuting Wednesday, June 24, each episode of “This is Her Place” will pair the stories of at least one woman from Utah’s history and a contemporary woman. The narrative podcast will combine storytelling with interviews and is targeted to reach a wide audience.
“There’s a real hunger right now to diversify the voices and experiences of those who are represented in our narratives about history and current events,” Mason said. “Women have always played a huge role in Utah, but their voices often aren’t heard or known, and people don’t know where to go to get those stories. I really want everyone to know that Utah is ‘her place’ too.”
Inspired by USU’s Year of the Woman, Mason wanted to build off the statewide celebration occurring around women’s suffrage to create a platform where people can learn about the interesting and important women in Utah’s history. Each episode will focus on different topics, such as public health and law enforcement. The law enforcement episode features current Salt Lake sheriff, Rosie Rivera, the first female sheriff in Utah and second Latina sheriff in the whole country. Her story is paired with that of Claire Ferguson, who, in 1897, as a 20-year-old, became a deputy sheriff of Salt Lake.
Mason said the podcast will appeal to a wide variety of listeners such as people who want smart, informed content, and teachers who want to diversify the range of characters they introduce to their students. Additionally, the podcast will have its own dedicated website, thisisherplace.org, where people can learn more about the women who are profiled, see pictures, read news stories and find resources for additional research.
“This Is Her Place” is co-hosted by Naomi Watkins, an educational and community activist in Salt Lake City, and Tom Williams, the longtime host of “Access Utah” on Utah Public Radio.
“This is Her Place” is available for download on all platforms.
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Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture
Department of History