Letter: Pay gap panel should acknowledge LDS culture's effect

Published August 6, 2014 5:07 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

What the commission ("Panel: Utah's gender wage gap should close," August 4) must not understand about the wage gap is the link between that gap and the dominant culture. In the LDS Church women do not hold the same administrative positions and power as the men. Since there is a lay ministry, that power is more likely to transfer into the workplace than a ministry whose power remains in the religious organization. Most religious organizations have a division of labor; the ministry is a paid ministry and his/her only job is to be a minister. In the LDS Church the ministry is not paid and the bishops, stake presidents and general authorities hold positions in the workplace.

A woman can never be a bishop or stake president or general authority. A man in the LDS culture who has one of those positions is more likely to get the administrative positions of high school principals, superintendents, CEOs, business leaders, and legislators based on their inherent power in the LDS Church. The power that males with the priesthood carry in the religious organization gives him power through cultural capital in the workplace. A power and a wage that will not be matched by women in this culture. When I read about the commission, I am surprised that they do not acknowledge the element of power disparity in the LDS Church.

Marilyn A. Miller, Ph.D.


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