Recent studies performed by Utah State University in conjunction with the Utah Women in Leadership Program show that within the city of Orem women hold only 17.9% of leadership positions. That is a statistic that is smaller than Utah’s 29.1% which already rings in below national averages.
This study reflects what professionals like the Orem city manager of Human Resources, Keri Rugg, fears — a lack of inclusivity in employment and community goals. According to Rugg, up until now women in Orem have had very little support to move forward in leadership positions. All of that is anticipated to change with the announcement of scholarship funding for female employees.
“As a city, we noticed women can’t compete,” Rugg said
For that reason, Orem city has developed the “Orem Women in Leadership Scholarship.” The scholarship, which ranges from $500 to $5,000, will pay for women to further their education.
UVU is partnering with the city in its efforts, waiving application fees to eligible employees who choose to attend school here. The Orem Leadership Team has also made their support of the scholarship fund known, creating what Rugg recognizes as an one of a kind city sponsored opportunity.
“My goal is to give 10 scholarships out within the next year,” Rugg said, noting many cultural standards which force women to put their degrees on hold in the area.
The USU study called for the implication of even more deliberate strategies to further diversify gender in leadership roles saying “communities and organizations will increasingly thrive when men and women work together in more equal numbers in leadership roles.”
According to Rugg, although there is much more that can and should be done, this scholarship program is a step in the right direction for the City of Orem.
Senior Staff Writer and Assitant Sports Editor
English major with an emphasis in Creative Writing- double minor in Environmental Studies and Communication.