Utah has had Congresswomen, a female Utah Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor, and now, a female House Speaker. Yet women remain underrepresented in state and federal offices, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics. Does it matter? A group of Alta High students and faculty is answering the question as a “yes” and answering the call to ensure more young women set their sights on leadership.
The school’s Women In Action group is showcasing its first Women In Action Conference. On Saturday, March 8, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., the public is invited to Alta to engage in free workshops featuring presenters from the Rutgers University Center for Women in Politics. The goal is to inspire young women to seek leadership opportunities in college, politics, business and their communities, and use their voices to shape public policy. The event is an outgrowth of Alta’s new Women in Action club and the school’s Social Studies colloquium, which invites national scholars to engage with students and the community each year.
“Our female students are smart, influential, and have great leadership potential,” Alta Principal Dr. Fidel Montero said. “The conference will allow students to network with some of the top academic leaders with a top-tier research university, and expose them to broader research around the role that women have in leadership and politics.”
Students from along the Wasatch Front and Cache County are expected to participate in the conference, which includes Thursday and Friday workshops for students and faculty, Dr. Montero said.
How does Utah stack up to other states in women in elected, statewide offices? Currently, 16 percent of the seats in the Utah Legislature are occupied by women, earning Utah a national ranking of 46 in the number of female legislators, according to the Rutgers Center for Women in Politics. Nationally, just over 18 percent of the seats in the U.S. Congress are occupied by women; 22 percent of the nation’s statewide executive offices are occupied by women; and 18.4 percent of U.S. cities are led by female mayors.