The Status of Women on Utah State Boards and Commissions

The UWLP has published a number of research and policy briefs to help Utahans understand the status of women in a variety of settings and roles (i.e., politics, education, nonprofits, business, and entrepreneurs). This brief continues that research by exploring the status of women on Utah state boards and commissions. Data were collected through a number of methods, including mining the Utah State Boards and Commission website, searching websites dedicated to the specific boards (where available), and securing additional clarification from the Utah Boards and Commissions Office and agency or division representatives overseeing various boards and commissions.

Utah Data

Our research determined that there are 340 Utah state boards and commissions listed as “active”; however, we were able to locate member listings for only 295 of them. Hence, there are 2463 members on these 295 boards or commissions, with 1771 men and 692 women currently serving. In all, female appointees account for 28.1% of all active appointments. Unfortunately, comparable national data are not available; however, we did locate a few reports from other states committed to and leading in boards’ and commissions’ gender diversity efforts. Connecticut, North Dakota, and Texas exceed 40% female representation on state boards, while Idaho and Alaska exceed 30%.

Recommendations

Utah needs more women to apply for board and commission openings. If qualified women are not found within the applicant pools, it is difficult for Utah leaders to appoint them to such roles. Hence, one critical solution is to encourage more women to apply for board and commission positions for which they are qualified. Utah residents can apply online at https://boards.utah.gov/. To continue increasing women representation in positions of influence, it is vital to understand the current status of women in various contexts. Developments in the last few years are genuinely encouraging, but the tipping point will not arrive here in Utah until we begin to move from unconscious bias to unconscious inclusiveness. And we still have much more work to do.


To learn more about The Status of Women on Utah State Boards & Commissions read the entire brief.

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