New National List Says Provo-Orem Have the Worst Gender Wage Gap in the Nation

Utah Metro Areas Have Worst Gender Wage Gap in the Nation

A new national list of the “worst paying cities for women” is out, and it isn’t much of a surprise that two of Utah’s metro areas rank number one. In the Provo-Orem area women bring in $.61 for every $1 earned by a man. That’s right, we’re talking pre-1973 wages for women residing in “Happy Valley.” The numbers are dismal, and it doesn’t help that Marty Carpenter, a member of the  Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, feels the need to defend Utah’s abysmal track record. He told reporters, “It is a misleading headline and that is a problem for us. In Utah we are really no different than other parts of the country.”

Translation: See, Utah isn’t that bad, we pay women shitty wages like the rest of the country!

Um, thanks?

Carpenter goes into the tired routine of citing women’s “choice” to earn less money. He credits disparities in education level and breaks from the workforce as the cause of the gap, and I agree with him to a point. Not all of the gendered wage gap is a byproduct of discrimination in hiring practices, promotions, etc. (though some of it is, so let’s not pretend for one minute that it isn’t). Some women do choose to stay at home, and some women don’t want to pursue higher education. Afterall, women are people, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to life. However, it is intellectually dishonest to ignore the fact that our culture socializes women for self-sacrifice in the name of family.

The sacrificial lambs women must offer up in patriarchy are education and career. There isn’t a whole lot of choice going on. In most cases it is the top-down pressure to fill gender roles.

KUTV’s Heidi Hatch rounds out her coverage of the new list with this gem of a quote, “women by nature are not always the most forceful negotiators—even when they are in high paying positions. It is an art and a skill that can be learned.” Which is it, Heidi?! The ability to negotiate is an essential trait, or it is a learned behavior? Pick one, because you can’t claim both in the same paragraph, Ms. Hatch. I’d prefer if you acknowledged the fact that women are constantly devalued and taught that passivity is queen, but that’s just me.






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