Susan Sparrow

A Passion for Politics
When Susan Sparrow learned about pay inequities in her home state of Utah, she began a grassroots organizing effort to pass a bill authorizing Utah's first study on pay equity among its state employees.

A period of intensive research following her Take the Lead experience brought the issue of pay inequities to Susan's attention. She learned that in the United States, women, on average, make 73 cents to every dollar earned by a man. In Utah, the figure for women is 67 cents. Galvanized by this knowledge, Susan recruited a group of students from her Salt Lake City high school to help lobby the Utah state legislature for passage of House Bill 81.

Susan and her friends were warned that the pay equity bill had failed in prior years, but they were determined to succeed, characterizing themselves as "strong, opinionated, and ready to fight for this cause." The girls donned bright "Aren't We Worth It? sashes along with their "Support HB 81" buttons and roamed the halls and committee rooms on Capitol Hill distributing fact sheets and meeting formally and informally with state representatives.

On March 31, 2003, Susan and her peers triumphed. House Bill 81, mandating a study of salary inequities between male and female Utah state workers, passed by a margin of 71-1.

Susan views passage of the bill as "a small step on the road to equality, but a step nonetheless." As she looks to her own future, Susan plans to continue her lobbying efforts in support of equality. While she and her colleagues are thrilled with their accomplishment, Susan says "the greatest success was that we have become informed and active citizens, ready to become politicians that will change the world."

Susan's project got the attention of YM magazine. Read the article!