A coalition of groups today (Tuesday) unveiled an agenda for Iowa women and girls that includes a call for more women to enter politics and an increase in quality child care options. Marisue Hartung of the Iowa Women’s Foundation says the statistics make a clear and compelling case for a unified agenda for Iowa women and girls. Iowa women are less likely than women in other states to work as professionals or managers, and are less likely to have a college education. Iowa has never elected a woman to Congress and less than a quarter of state legislators are women. Hartung says the ultimate goal is to have women hold at least half of the seats in the legislature. Hartung says women need a lot of training understand what it takes to get elected. “Iowa Women in Public Policy” regularly holds workshops to teach women how to run and hold elected office. Leann Jacobson is the group’s executive director. Jacobson says the goal is to encourage women to run for office at all levels so there are “more women in the pipeline” when it comes time to recruit candidates for statewide office. Hartung suggests the output of the legislature and other parts of government would change if more women served in decision-making positions. “Women have shown that they are certainly when they’re in elected positions more aware, perhaps the word’s more sensitive to those kinds of issues that are important to families and to the social agendas,” she says. Iowa and Mississippi are the only two states which have never elected a woman governor or elected a woman to federal office.
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