Event explores current and historical perspectives on women running for political office
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Women have struggled to get into political office in the United States, and remain largely underrepresented in politics. Iowa is one of the very few states never to have elected a woman to the U.S. House, U.S. Senate or as governor.

On Friday, April 18, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., the University of Iowa's Public Policy Center, in partnership with and in honor of the Iowa Women’s Archives, will host “Women in Politics 2014: Historic and Current Perspectives” at the Old Capitol Museum Senate Chambers in Iowa City.

The goal of this day-long symposium is to investigate why women do or do not run for political office, to examine the history of women in politics, and to discuss policy and action steps for the future. Top political scientists and historians from around the country, as well as state legislators and activists will lend their expertise to the event. Delivering the keynote address is U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the Senate.

“The symposium should have something for anyone with an interest in policy and politics. We will be looking at issues regarding the pipeline for women running for office, do women govern differently than men, a historical perspective on women in office and where to go from here. The impact of women on the tenor of our political discourse is particularly salient for us at the Public Policy Center who try very hard to create a positive environment for the discussion of challenging issues," says Peter Damiano, the Public Policy Center's director.

“Although they haven’t been elected to national office or to the governorship, Iowa women have a long history of political activism both within and outside electoral politics,” adds Kären Mason, curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives. “The Iowa Women’s Archives in the University’s Main Library is filled with scrapbooks, letters, speeches, and photos that tell the stories of political women such as longtime state legislator Minnette Doderer and Mary Louise Smith, the first woman to chair the Republican National Committee. This symposium is a great way to honor the women who have paved the way in politics and focus attention on some of the issues women confront in the political arena.”

The event is presented as part of the Public Policy Center’s 25th anniversary year in fulfillment of part of its mission to engage the public by sharing the expertise and resources of the PPC and the university. It is free and open to the public, but please register on the Public Policy Center website as space is limited. For those unable to attend, the session will be live-streamed here.

For more information about these and other PPC events, please visit www.ppc.uiowa.edu. To follow the event on Twitter, please follow and use the hashtag #iowawomeninpolitics.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to attend this event, contact Leslie Gannon in advance at 319-335-6817 or leslie-gannon@uiowa.edu.