On Thursday, October 11, 2012 the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Network (WBN) met at the Holiday Inn Express in Orem for its monthly luncheon. The food provided by Landmark Catering was enticing to the eye and a delicious meal enjoyed by all. Dr. Susan Madsen of Utah Valley University gave a fascinating presentation based on her research regarding women and education in Utah.
Dr. Madsen reported that Utah ranks last of all the states in the Union for women graduating from college and because of that alarming statistic she was asked by the Utah Commissioner of Education to head up research to find out why. Some of the findings that she shared are:
- Many young women have a narrow view of the benefits of a college education.
- Many women do not place education as a priority in their lives.
- The value of an education loses its value to many women once they get married or have children.
- Women’s intentions for a college education are directed by what they believe about education and their attitudes and aspirations which are greatly influenced by parents, teachers, religious leaders and friends.
Dr. Madsen strongly urged that we each be an influence in the lives of women to encourage them to pursue educational goals. Some ways she suggested that we can make a difference are to begin with our own families. At a young age, encourage children on the values of learning and both attending and graduating from college. Additionally, consider a college savings program for each child. Become educated yourself as to the benefits of graduating from college. Other ways we can help are by encouraging other women and becoming an advocate for education ourselves. We can ask young women questions about their college plans and look for “transformational moments”—moments that can change the way young women think about themselves and their futures. Additional information and resources can be found at www.uvu.edu/wep.
Thanks to our luncheon sponsors, LOBOSLLC, which provides custom software development services, and to the WBN’s 2012 Angel Sponsor, The Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation. Our next luncheon will be on November 8, 2012.