Mia Love

Women underrepresented across Utah's political spectrum

Utah elected the nation's the first female state senator in 1896, when Martha Hughes Cannon defeated her husband and four other candidates to win the job.

But 120 years later, the Utah state Legislature is among those with the lowest percentages of women, in part because of the state's influential Mormon culture emphasizing women as mothers and homemakers.

Women make up half the state's population, but only 16 of 104 lawmakers are female in Utah's state Senate and House of Representatives.

That means women account for 15 percent of the Legislature — making Utah the eighth lowest in the country and one of 16 states that now has fewer female state lawmakers than...