Women Are Focus of U Enrollment Initiative


(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)
(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

The last decade has seen a steady decline in the number of women enrolled in higher education programs across the country.
Matching this trend, Utah has witnessed lower numbers of females enrolling in all areas of study. However, a plan has been set in place at the U to aid in the turnaround of those trends. The Women Enrollment Initiative was established to meet the needs of girls and women in various stages of education from high school to seniors in college. This will include looking at the recruitment process, working to address retention issues and barriers to graduation.
Currently, conversations are being held across campus to determine what is available for female students, how to assure that resources are accessible and if resources are available to support families with child care needs.
The leaders of the Enrollment Initiative recognize the big endeavor before them. The success of the initiative will depend on working across campus and with the local community to research the opportunities that are presently available to female students.
Debra Daniels, director of the Women’s Resource Center and assistant vice president of the Initiative, said helping women fulfill their educational goals is important.
“Educating women impacts how their children and future generations view education,” she said. “The wage gap for women is significant, and there are a number of things that need to be done to change that, but I know that education will place women in the position to earn higher salaries and move towards building a career.”
Emily Van Allen, a senior in urban ecology, said the Enrollment Initiative is a “great” step for the U.
“Women should feel empowered to do and achieve anything they want,” she said.
Although the number of women graduating from the U is about equal to men, women’s enrollment and retention rates still fall behind men’s. These trends continue in the workforce where Utah women earn 30 percent less than their male counterparts, and Utah has the fourth largest wage gap in the country. Daniels said these are some of the concerns that led to the development of the Women’s Enrollment Initiative.
“We are concerned about women here at the U,” she said. “We want to examine how we can assist women in succeeding during their college years. It is important that we find a way to address the many needs and concerns our female students face.”
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