Leadership Development Perspectives and Recommendations from Sisters who Served Full-Time Missions during Young Adulthood

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Utah is below the national average in terms of women holding leadership roles within nearly all settings (e.g., business, education, government, politics, state boards and commissions, and religious). In fact, figures from Wallet Hub rank Utah 50th as the worst state for gender equality. A more detailed picture is provided by the Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) that reports, in nearly all sectors, the percentage of women in leadership roles lagging national figures. For example, in business, women comprise 32% of managers in Utah, compared with 40.2% nationally. And in terms of state leadership, women represent only 32.7% of state board and commissions. This is the case most often for two overarching reasons. The first is the organizational and societal cultures in Utah (and in most places in the world) that have gendered systems, processes, and practices. The second reason centers on the fact that many women themselves do not have the confidence, aspirations, ambition, or perceived knowledge, skills, and abilities to "lean in" to leadership opportunities. Yet, we argue that Utah women are much more prepared than they might think.