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United Way of Salt Lake is hosting a summit next week to address Utah’s gender gap in post-secondary education, which is by far the largest in the nation. Set for Oct. 30, the Women and Education Summit will present strategies for reducing the 6 percentage point gap between men and women who have earned a four-year college degree.
“At United Way, one of our primary goals is to give people the tools and resources to be financially secure and successful, and education is key to that,” said Deborah Bayle, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake.
The summit is designed for anyone in the community who wants to learn more about this issue, said Bayle, including educators, businesses, government leaders, parents, students and other community organizations.
Educational achievement has a direct impact on the financial strength of women and their families. In Utah, 74 percent of women with school-age children work outside the home, said Bayle. “At one point or another in their lives, [Utah women] will support themselves or their families.”
And Utah has the largest gender wage gap in the nation, with Utah women earning only 69 cents for every dollar men earn, she added.
While the economics are important, Bayle said educational attainment has other benefits. Women with a post-secondary education have stronger and healthier families, and are more likely to take on leadership roles at work or in the community.
The education gap between men and women impacts businesses as well, according to Bayle. To meet future workforce requirements, the state needs to produce more workers with post-secondary degrees—and women will be a significant part of filling that need.
Keynote speakers at the summit include Mary C. Daly, associate director of research and group vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Susan R. Madsen, founder of the Utah Women and Education Project; and Cecelia H. Foxley, former Utah Commissioner of Higher Education.
The program will feature several breakout sessions on a variety of topics such as Preparation and Readiness, A Male Perspective and Building Self-Worth. It will also have a student panel and strategy sessions for communities, families, the workplace and the classroom.
The Women and Education Summit will be held Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Little America Hotel. Registration ends today. To register or for more information, visit: www.uw.org/educationsummit.