The Jeuns

‘Research Summaries on K-12 Initiatives, Higher Ed, and Workplace Culture Released by UWLP’

March 19, 2024 | by The Jeuns

Researchers from the Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project conducted a statewide study in the fall of 2023 to gauge public perceptions of the challenges faced by women and girls in Utah. The survey focused on education, community engagement, safety and security, health and well-being, and the workplace.

The 80-question survey was designed with input from experts and based on existing literature and survey instruments. This initiative supports “A Bolder Way Forward,” a new program aimed at breaking down barriers hindering the progress of women and girls in Utah. A series of research summaries authored by Susan R. Madsen, founder and director of UWLP, have been released to provide insights to Utah leaders and residents.

One of the research summaries, focusing on K-12 initiatives, highlighted the need for young women to have stronger math skills and access to career and technical education. The study showed that Utah ranks 50th in the U.S. for the largest disparity between boys and girls in 8th-grade math test scores. The findings emphasize the importance of encouraging girls to pursue advanced coursework and develop strong math skills for their future careers.

Another research summary focused on higher education attainment revealed that most Utahns believe in the broad value of higher education beyond just economic benefits. There was also a consensus on the importance of creating inclusive environments in higher education to foster a sense of belonging among students. Additionally, the study indicated a need for more Utah women to complete graduate degrees to increase opportunities for economic stability.

The third research summary highlighted the significance of organizational strategies and workplace culture, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study emphasized the need for workplaces to adopt flexible and family-friendly practices to support their employees. Findings showed that there is still room for improvement in providing opportunities for advancement, creating strategies that advance women in the workplace, and offering family-friendly policies that meet employees’ needs.

Susan R. Madsen noted that while progress has been made, there is still work to be done in improving workplace culture and supporting female employees in Utah. Stakeholders like the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and the Women’s Leadership Institute are actively leading the charge for change in the state. It is crucial for employers to find better ways to support women in the workforce to ensure continued economic success in Utah.


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