LOGAN – Researchers from the Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) conducted a statewide study to establish a baseline of public perceptions of the awareness, understanding, and attitudes regarding the challenges Utah women and girls face. The survey, conducted in the fall of 2023, focused on five areas: education, community engagement, safety and security, health and well-being, and the workplace.  

In October and November 2023, the UWLP collected data from 3,505 Utahns ages 18 and older. The 80-question survey was based on existing literature and survey instruments, guidance from experts, and baseline data needed by leaders of A Bolder Way Forward (BWF). This initiative invites Utahns to break down the barriers that keep women and girls from thriving.

Nineteen research summaries have been or will be published to provide Utah leaders and residents with insights about Utahns’ current perceptions. To date, 13 research summaries have been released.  

Research summaries were recently released on Health Across the LifespanEntrepreneurship, and Finance. The summaries, authored by Susan R. Madsen, founder and director of UWLP, are used to set goals and metrics for a BWF. Below are highlights of each research summary.

Health Across the Lifespan – The UWLP has researched topics related to women through the years, and the elements of mental, physical, social/emotional, and/or environmental health have emerged in nearly all research. 

  • Most Utahns agree on some level that they can schedule and complete a preventative healthcare visit in the next 12 months.
  • Women agreed at higher levels than men that they could make informed decisions regarding reproductive health.
  • 45% of respondents do not feel knowledgeable about perimenopause (this was especially true for men).
  • One-quarter of respondents were either unsure or did not feel safe at some level in a doctor’s office or medical setting.
  • 47.1% disagreed it is likely that one of their healthcare providers will screen them for intimate partner violence in the next year and connect them with necessary resources. 

“The bottom line is that Utah girls and women are experiencing substantial health challenges,” said Madsen. “Health impacts all other domains in our life. It also intersects with the other focus areas in A Bolder Way Forward movement.”

Entrepreneurship – Utah has seen substantial growth in women-owned businesses. It ranks high in some aspects, yet poorly in others, as shown by WalletHub’s disparity in the entrepreneurship rate between men and women.

  • 51.9% of respondents agreed they would start a business if they had the opportunity and resources.
  • 81.9% agreed at some level that their families and friends would approve/support their decision to start a business.
  • 55.1% agreed (only 18.4% strongly agreed) that if they started a business, it would grow enough to employ others.
  • 41.6% disagreed at some level that if they started a business, they would know how/where to access resources and support.

“Many Utah residents said they would start businesses if they had resources and opportunities, yet many were not aware of the support currently available to all Utahns, especially women,” Madsen said.

Finance – Data on Utah women and finances were limited. Yet, it is critical that women of all ages work toward achieving financial security and making informed financial decisions.

  • 14.5% and 28.6% strongly agreed or agreed that they are aware of resources that can help them achieve financial security.
  • Nearly everyone surveyed believed they should understand their own finances.
  • 71% agreed or strongly agreed they can manage personal finances independently and make informed decisions to improve their financial wellness.
  • 81% strongly agreed that women must be competent and confident with money.

“A Bolder Way Forward aims to make Utah a place where more women and girls thrive in any setting,” Madsen said. “Strengthening women’s awareness and use of financial resources, as well as their competence and confidence in managing money and making informed decisions, will benefit Utah families and the state as a whole.”

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