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Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution records

Identifier: IWA0400

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Scope and Contents

The Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution records date from 1978 to 1998 and measure 5 linear inches. They consist largely of administrative records including lists of supporters, meeting minutes, financial information, and communication with the Sumo Group which was hired to provide services. There are also local chapter contact lists, some newspaper clippings, resumes of steering committee members, and a few buttons. One folder includes materials from earlier ERA efforts.


  • Creation: 1978-1998


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

In late 1997, after the Iowa state ERA had failed twice (1980 and 1992), the League of Women's Voters of Iowa initiated a new effort to protect the legal rights of the women of Iowa. The LWV convened a meeting, and a statewide committee named "ERA....Iowa Style" was formed. The group's name was soon changed to Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution, however, to emphasize the difference between the ERA and the amendment this group was proposing. The ERA had included an enacting clause which required the state to eliminate gender discrimination. The "add women" amendment, in contrast, had no such clause. Its purpose was to clearly express Iowa's commitment to the principle of gender equality. The proposed amendment to Article I, Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution, which is a statement of fundamental beliefs, added only two words: "All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights..." As required by Iowa law, this amendment was passed by two consecutive sessions of the Iowa General Assembly (the 76 th in 1995 and the 77 th in 1997) before appearing on the ballot. The amendment to "add women" had strong bi-partisan support and generated little controversy, although some former ERA supporters derided it as a weak, symbolic gesture. The amendment was approved by a large majority in the general election on November 3, 1998. The group disbanded immediately after the election.


5.00 linear inches

Artifacts in Box 1. boxes

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Organization formed to work for passage of Iowa state ERA.

Method of Acquisition

The records were donated by Suzanne Schenken (donor no. 147) in 1998, by Karen Thomsen (donor no. 802) in 2001, and by Loren Shultz (donor no. 841) in 2002.

Related Materials

Iowa ERA Coalition records (IWA)

Iowa Women's Equality Campaign records (IWA)

ERA Iowa 1992 records (IWA)

Iowa Women Against the ERA records (IWA)

Jamie Nelson, 2000. Revised by Sharon M. Lake in 2005.
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)