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Is Wyoming Really The Equality State Of The Mountain West?

University of Wyoming

If your name is John, you’re more likely to run a large company or be a politician than if you’re a woman with any name. That’s according to the latest "Glass Ceiling Index" by the New York Times. So does this under-representation hold true in our region’s so-called "Equality State"?

Among other things, Wyoming got its name by electing the country’s first female governor back in 1925. Sabrina King is with the ACLU. She said Wyoming started off on the right foot, but it has rested on its laurels ever since.

"You hear it all the time that Wyoming is the Equality State and we were the first state to let women vote, but the reality is, just because that happened a long time ago doesn’t mean we’re still leading the way. Frankly, we’re not," said King.

Today, Wyoming ranks 50th in the nation for female representation in its state legislature--dead last.

"We need to be doing a better job of mentoring young women, of getting women into positions of power both inside and outside of government and ensuring that we have a balanced slate of leadership across the state," said King.

Wyoming also has one the largest gender wage gaps in the country.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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