Letter: Utah’s lieutenant governor undermines women’s struggle in pandemic

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and Dr. Marc Harrison, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare react to the COVID update given by Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of Utah Department of Health, during Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson's statewide update on the ongoing pandemic, Aug. 31, 2021 at the Capitol.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson hangs her hat on supporting equal rights for women. Indeed, I was one of her fans when she supported the ERA only to be punished by members of her own party. She has passed and supported additional legislation that represents and advances Utah women. Some of it is performative (such as changing a statute) and other examples are substantive (breastfeeding friendly workplaces).

What the lieutenant governor hasn’t caught up with, either performatively or substantively, is how profoundly the pandemic is affecting women. It is industries predominantly filled with women that bear enormous burdens in the pandemic. It’s mothers who miss the most work when kids are sick. It’s women who scale back as they try to keep their families afloat during quarantines or illnesses. The United Nations shows demonstrable global impacts to women in the economy, maternal/fetal health, and rates of domestic abuse.

By continuing to post maskless indoor photos on formal social media accounts, Lt. Gov. Henderson slaps the face of Utah women. As variants continue to spread and she willfully refuses to follow CDC guidance for indoor workplaces, it’s women who will suffer most. To be a champion for those of us trying to care for aging parents, keep our children safely in school, and deal with the financial ruin of illness, she only needs to put on a piece of cloth.

Ashley Anderson, Salt Lake City

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