After a Century of Suffrage, Women Still Can't Get Elected in Iowa

Thursday, December 22, 2011

About 60 people gathered during the bi-monthly luncheon of the Republican Women of Black Hawk County in Waterloo, Iowa. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

A woman has never been elected to Congress or held the governorship in Iowa. The only other state to hold this dubious distinction is Mississippi. Several studies point to cultural factors, such as the state's older population and evangelical lobbying groups. But nearly a century after women's suffrage and three years after Iowa legalized gay marriage, the Hawkeye State's problem seems to lie deeper.

Former Iowa State Senator Maggie Tinsman, co-founder of the 50/50 in 2020 campaign, and Dianne Bystrom, director of the Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, discuss why female politicians have not gained traction in Iowa.


Dianne Bystrom and State Senator Maggie Tinsman

Produced by:

Joseph Capriglione

Comments [2]

Anne from Massachusetts

John, thanks for this report. Are we beyond gender politics? No. And this isn't just an issue in Iowa --Women account for more than 50 percent of the global population, but hold less than 20 percent of all parliamentary seats across the globe. In the United States that percentage is even lower -- women make up only 17 percent of Congress and only a quarter of the seats in all of our state legislatures.

Secretary Clinton launched the "Women in Public Service Project" in Washington, DC last week for this very reason (the statistics above are from her remarks at the launch) several all-women's colleges, including Wellesley College in Massachusetts, are participating in the initiative (Wellesley will host the project's first "Summer Institute" in June). The project, similar to the Iowa 50/50 in 2020 effort, envisions a world where political and civic leadership is at least 50 percent female by 2050.

Dec. 22 2011 11:36 AM

Michelle Bachmann was famously born in Iowa and her mentioning that in connection to John Wayne was cause for the media to viciously deride her along with the general hate directed at her and other women conservatives from so-called "progressives".
It seems the progressive media is using every wedge they can in the Republican primary in the guise of concern for women.

Dec. 22 2011 09:19 AM

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