The Women in the Economy Commission released a report today on Utah Women in Higher Education, 2000-2017, which provided key findings on enrollment and completion rates of post-secondary education in Utah.
The report found that Utah women participating in higher education is improving when comparing results by gender in the state since 2011. Women represent more than half of enrolled students at degree-granting institutions and make up a greater proportion of enrollees in the 18-24 and 35-44 age groups. Women also edge out men in the categories of completing associate and bachelor’s degrees.
However, there is still room for improvement as Utah continues to rank as one of the lowest states for female enrollment in the nation. The report found that Utah women have higher rates than Utah men when attaining some college with no degree. They also face unique barriers to persistence such as childbearing leading to discrepancy between their enrollment and completion of a degree.
The report provides recommendations to help Utah improve higher education access by supporting parents of young children. This includes affordable, campus-based child care, lactation rooms and baby-friendly study rooms. It also found a need to better communicate to women and families that more workplace flexibility and autonomy comes with more education.
In addition, the report recommends further research on possible barriers facing men and women in their postsecondary educational activities, including concurrent employment, family responsibilities and religious mission service.
The full report can be viewed at women.utah.gov.