Celebrating International Women’s Day: A Conversation with Becky Jacobs

This International Women’s Day, we spoke with Becky Jacobs, a Report for America corps member who writes about women’s issues and the status of women in Utah for The Salt Lake Tribune.

“We knew that during the coronavirus pandemic, women were disproportionately affected economically, in terms of jobs but also taking on responsibilities with kids [as a result of] at-home learning… so we decided to email every legislator and ask ‘What are you doing to help Utah women?”

Watch our full conversation with Jacobs, and read a compilation of her stories below.

Read more:

Researchers with the Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah State University collected from 839 women in Utah in an online survey between May and June 2020, with the goal of understanding how sexism demeans and disempowers women. Jacobs dug into the key findings of the report. | Read more

When Becky Jacobs came to the Salt Lake Tribune in 2019, she was told that the state ranks as one of the worst in the U.S. for women — it has the nation’s widest wage gap, a low college graduation rate for women and fewer women leaders in politics and business. In a series in 2021, Jacobs dug into the statistics about women’s rights in the states and spoke to community leaders and Tribune readers about what they’d like to see change.

Women across Utah struggled to balance work responsibilities, childcare and housework during the pandemic, with many saying their spouse and their employers didn’t provide adequate support. “I felt like a crap mom and crap employee,” one woman told Jacobs.

Researchers found that just one in ten reported cases of sexual assault in Salt Lake and Utah counties in Utah actually ends in a conviction. Victim blaming, gender imbalances on legal teams, racial bias and other obstacles make the process arduous for victims, who are predominantly women. 

Want more updates? Follow Jacobs on Twitter here.

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017 by the nonprofit The GroundTruth Project, Report for America is a new, sustainable model that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities and hold powerful institutions accountable.