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Iowa Commission on the Status of Women records

Identifier: IWA0175

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Scope and Contents

The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (ICSW) records date from 1968 to 2013 and measure 6.5 linear feet. The records are arranged in ten series: Administrative, Associate Organizations, Education, Legislative Correspondence, Programs, Publications, Task Forces and Studies, Write Women Back Into History Contest, Artifacts, and Audiovisual.

The Administrative series consists of the history of the organization, awards given to the commission, and reports to the Iowa legislature. It also contains information about conferences that the commission sponsored from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. There are also several photographs of the former commissioners and commission activities.

The Associate Organizations series has files about organizations that the commission either worked with administratively or as event participants. The organizations include the American Association of University Women, Iowa Women’s Equity Campaign, Iowa Women’s Political Caucus, League of Women Voters, National Organization for Women, and the United Nations International Women’s Year.

The Education series contains publications about women’s education and how to remove sexist education from schools. Most of the publications are by outside organizations such as the State of Iowa Department of Public Instruction.

The Legislative correspondence series includes memos, testimony, and letters written by ICSW staff members to various state and national legislators conveying their views on pending bills and issues.

The Programs series focuses on workshops, events, and long-term programming to assist and highlight women. These programs range from the 75th anniversary celebration of women’s suffrage, to resources for previously incarcerated women, to the recurring Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame nominations and ceremony.

The Publications series mostly has items by the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, but also includes works by other organizations. Some of the publications by the ICSW are single printings, like their Iowa Women in History Calendar, while others are their serial publications, such as “Iowoman” and “Financial Safety Planning for Older Women.” Publications from other organizations cover a wide variety of topics from the Equal Rights Amendment to pay equity. Other works are by female Iowa authors including “Sex Role Stereotyping by Print and Broadcast Media: legal recourses” by Patricia Geadelmann and "Tweetens, Hovlands, Dahlbys, and Hoveruds: Journeys II stories of those who came" by Ruth Tweeten Holtan and Phil Holtan.

The Task Forces and Studies series covers various published studies on women’s issues as well as a committee commissioners served on, and public hearings organized by the commission. The studies cover subjects from childcare to insurance practices to the impact of federal budgets on women. The public hearings are about battered women, the feminization of poverty, and the ICSW itself.

The Write Women Back into History Contest series consists of essays that are organized by year of submission along with a folder of photographs. A subject analysis of all essays submitted is located in the Collections Analysis notebook in the IWA reading room.

The Artifacts series has a framed postcard and suffrage quote.

The Audiovisual series contains two records and twenty-three videocassettes. The records are from a production called “Side by Side” which reenacts famous women’s suffrage moments. The videocassettes are recordings of programs organized by the commission and other topical programs like “Women on Stamps” by the United States Postal Service.


  • Creation: 1968-2013


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor.

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

The Iowa legislature created the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (ICSW) in 1972. The ICSW succeeded the earlier governors' commissions on the status of women appointed by Governor Harold Hughes (1964-1968) and Governor Robert Ray (1969-1971). The purpose of the ICSW is to advocate the interests of women in Iowa. To that end, the ICSW conducts studies, develops educational programs, recommends legislation, and provides information to the public on issues involving women in Iowa. The commission submits an annual report to the legislature and governor.

The ICSW sponsors an annual writing contest to promote women's history. Students in the sixth through ninth grades research and write about women who have made significant historical contributions. Teachers choose the best essay in their class for submission, and the ICSW chooses the statewide winners each year. The commission also organizes the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and its inductees. This hall of fame is designed to recognize four women each year who have made a significant impact on society.


6.5 Linear Feet (Photographs in boxes 1, 4, 5, and 14, two records in the audio records collection, and twenty three videocassettes housed in the videocassette collection (V1035-V1057).)

Language of Materials



Legislative commission designed to study, protect, and advocate for the women of Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 254) were donated by the Iowa Commission on the Status of women in 1995 and succeeding years.

Related Materials

Iowa Women's Hall of Fame records (IWA)

Governor Ray's Commission on the Status of Women records (IWA)

Patricia Geadelmann papers (IWA)

Iowa Women's Political Caucus records (IWA)

League of Women Voters of Iowa records (IWA)

Faye T. Wookey papers (IWA)

Denise O'Brien papers (IWA)

Louise Rosenfield Noun papers (IWA)

Mary Louise Smith papers (IWA)

Nickol Himschoot, 2003; Sharon M. Lake 2007; Avery Porter, 2023.
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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)