Story at a glance
- LGBTQ+ women and girls in Utah face higher barriers to educational attainment than heterosexual women and girls, according to new research, ultimately restricting their earning potential.
- About 19 percent of LGBTQ+ women in Utah have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 28 percent of straight women.
- Improving anti-discrimination and inclusion efforts in the workplace are “critical to reducing disparities,” the study’s authors write, as is making LGBTQ+ women and girls feel safer and more welcome in schools.
Women and girls who do not identify as heterosexual are more likely to face discrimination and isolation that can limit their education and earning potential, new research has found.
Almost a quarter of “sexual minority women” in Utah don’t graduate from high school, according to a study by the Utah Women and Leadership Project, compared with roughly 7 percent of heterosexual women. About 19 percent of LGBTQ+ women in Utah have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 28 percent of straight women.
That has a direct effect on the earning potential of LGBTQ+ women, and nearly 40 percent of LGBTQ+ women in Utah do not earn more than $25,000 a year, according to the study.
About 42 percent of LGBTQ+ women in Utah earn a salary of $50,000 or more — the highest income bracket in the study — compared with 61 percent of straight women.
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Improving anti-discrimination and inclusion efforts in the workplace are “critical to reducing disparities,” the study’s authors write, and “ensuring that sexual minority girls and women feel — and are — welcome in all educational arenas will provide access and means for economic advancement.”
Female LGBTQ+ inequality isn’t just an issue in Utah. A recent analysis by the Hamilton Project found that women in same-gender partnerships typically make less money than men in same-gender relationships, likely because they face at least two barriers to becoming higher earners: one based on their sexual orientation and one based on their gender.
“Two women in a couple will experience two gender gaps, and that’s a big part of the difference,” M.V. Lee Badgett, an economics professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, told Axios in January.
Nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ+ workers in a September report published by the Williams Institute said they had experienced at least one form of employment discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including being passed over for promotions and pay raises.
In July, a Human Rights Campaign report found that LGBTQ+ workers in the U.S. earn about 90 cents on the dollar. Pay disparities are even more pronounced among LGBTQ+ women of color and transgender women.
Overall, women in the U.S. make just 83 percent of what men earn, according to the American Association of University Women. At the current rate of progress, the gender pay gap won’t close until 2111.
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