Four women, including the first woman elected to statewide office, will be inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame today. Iowa Commission on the Status of Women executive director Charlotte Nelson says the “Hall of Fame” was established in 1975 to call attention to the contributions Iowa women have made to the state.Relatives of Dr. May Francis of Waterloo will be on hand for today’s Hall of Fame ceremony to honor her memory. Francis was the first woman in Iowa to be elected to statewide office. In 1922, just two years after women got the right to vote, Francis was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Another of the women honored this year is Jean Lloyd-Jones of Iowa City.Lloyd-Jones served in the legislature for 16 years; was president of the Iowa League of Women Voters in 1971 when it was among the groups that successfully overturned the reapportionment plan developed by the Legislature. Lloyd-Jones also helped found the Iowa Peace Institute and ran against Senator Chuck Grassley in 1992. Another woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame — Margaret Toomey — has been the leader of an inner-city public housing community in Des Moines. Nelson says Toomey fought crime and helped make the low-income housing complex safe for its residents. And the fourth woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is “Di” Findley of Mitchellville. Findley is the founder and director of the Iowa Caregivers Association, which seeks to improve working conditions for those who work in Iowa’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Nelson says the group has become a national model and is helping to improve not only working conditions for the predominantly female workforce, but also improving care for the aged, the majority of whom are women. Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu will also be honored today with a special medal for “making significant contributions to the principles of equality and justice.” Today’s induction ceremony begins at 10:30 at the State Historical Building in Des Moines.
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