Salt Lake County Regional Development News
Dr. Susan Madsen: How the Pandemic is Affecting Women in Utah and What Local Government & Orgs Can Do About It
March 18, 2021
Dr. Susan Madsen, director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah State University, spoke to Salt Lake County COVID-19 economic recovery work group on Wednesday about the impact of the pandemic on women — and women in Utah.
Dr. Madsen presented a significant amount of national data, including from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Women of Color
"Everybody who is vulnerable is more vulnerable. Everything that is unequal is more unequal..." said Claudia Geist, associate dean for research in the U of U's School for Cultural and Social Transformation.
An exacerbated childcare crisis. Utah was already ranked as one of the three worst states in the U.S. for lack of access to licensed care. Women have consistently listed this as a top challenge and concern amid the pandemic, with additional childcare or homeschooling responsibilities.
Progress in women's careers from the past 5 years erased. Women are more likely to have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic. Two million more have reported to be considering leave of absence or leaving their jobs altogether. All of this could translate into fewer women staying on track to be future leaders.
Burnout/Mental Health/Anxiety — These three challenges have also been among the biggest for women during the pandemic.
What Governments & Organizations Can Do
- Initiate public policy
- Set an example in words and actions
- Shift policies and programs to meet employee needs
- Are you taking a look at performance reviews?
- Increase healthcare coverage
- Take steps to minimize gender bias
- Improve economic conditions
- Engage in childcare conversations
- Make work more sustainable
- Focus on shifting norms around flexibility
- Expand paid leave
- Raise awareness and provide education
- Understand research, resources and training already available
- Implement effective diversity, equity, inclusion efforts
- Continue offering women's professional development
View the entire presentation and data Dr. Madsen shared with us. Expect more Utah data to be released by the Utah Women & Leadership Institute in early April! You can learn more about women and girls in Utah at utwomen.org.
Salt Lake County is preparing the West General Plan which focuses on unincorporated areas in the western portion of the County. When completed, this General Plan will provide a big picture guide for officials and residents to use to prepare for growth and conservation efforts over the next 20-50 years.
Residents are invited to attend an upcoming community engagement meeting to learn more about this process and share your feedback to help make our community a beautiful, safe, sustainable, and thriving place to live and work.
Online Community Engagement Meetings
Great Salt Lake Shoreline (Salt Lake City, Magna, and North Salt Lake)
Central Oquirrhs (West Jordan, Copperton, South Jordan, Herriman)
North Oquirrhs (Magna, West Valley, Kearns)
Southwest Oquirrhs & Traverse Mountains (Herriman, Riverton, Bluffdale, High Country, Camp Williams)
Today we had three wonderful guest panelists join us at a Salt Lake County Economic Impact & Recovery meeting to speak on the current state of the restaurant industry in Salt Lake County; how owners and employees are faring; and what trends they see now and in the future due to the pandemic.
- Melva Sine, CEO/President of Utah Restaurant Association
- Michele T. Corigliano, Executive Director at Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association
- Tim Ryan, Owner of Bout Time Pub
Planning & Takeout
Utahns are getting used to and desire takeout now, but accessibility to get to restaurants, park, run in, and leave, has been hampered and difficult.
Those in the industry believe building new restaurants and their blueprints will change the way our cities are planned. City planning and parking will need to be a consideration when it comes to takeout and delivery -- even for third party delivery services, Michele said.
Consider the development of new complexes, retail, and strip malls, Tim urged. Developers are going in and taking a parcel that can hold six food-related concepts but built with drive-thrus that wrap around the building to allow for vehicle stacking. However, plans aren't considering sit-down dining locations with outdoor patio space without idling cars next to them.
Sit-down Isn't Going Away
When the pandemic is behind us, these industry experts don't believe dine-in experiences will go too.
"We're going to remain the social experience. We provide meals. But part of what we do is provide a social experience, friends gather, people meet. I don't believe that will go away," Tim said. "There are trends in the industry running very strong even five years before the pandemic of delivery and takeaway, but we're seeing our customers are clamoring to get back through the doors."
Third-Party Delivery is a Sticky Situation
According to Melva, 30% of sales can go to a third-party delivery service; a cut she says is keeping restaurants from recovering from the pandemic. "Thirty percent means loss." Restaurants don't want to do anything to harm their availability with customers and want to stay relevant, she said, so they've been forced to use the third parties.
But, Melva insists delivery companies need to be trained how to handle food, have contracts, and provide restaurants access to all third-party data related to their business.
Finding Employees Is Competitive
Another trend all the industry experts expounded on was the inability to find enough staff. Changing lifestyles and mindsets among employees -- where they only want to work three days a week so they can ski the other ones, or have Saturdays off, etc -- means the need for employees has doubled.
Some labor force is going to other industries, like construction, and pulling away food industry employees.
Have more questions for our panelists?
Contact Michele: email@example.com, www.utahrestaurantassociation.org
Contact Tim Ryan: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bouttimepub.com
Contact Melva Sine: email@example.com, www.slara.org