Document 13: Helen Virden, "Are We Measuring Up - In the Ramparts We Build?" 1954, Folder: Individual Liberties/Equal Rights, Box 45, League of Women Voters of Iowa papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa.


       These facts about women in government in Iowa were collected in 1954 by Helen Virden, the State Chairman of Qualified Women in Policy Making Posts. It is most interesting, perhaps, that these figures were being gathered at all, given the obvious lack of women in governmental positions they display. The compilation of these statistics suggests women's organizations were both aware of and concerned with the lack of proportional representation by women in positions of governmental significance by 1954.


Figures don't lie - Here are the figures on Women in Government in Iowa:

U. S. Senators
both men
All men
State Senators                                                                   all men
State Representatives (108)                                                          one woman
State Officials (elective)                                                   Woman superintendent of schools
County Elective Officials:        1953 Official Directory -99 counties
Women in office                                                   12 county auditors
                                                  20 clerks of court
                                                  21 County Treasurers
                                                  51 County Recorders
                                                  3 county home stewards
                                                  24 County superintendents of schools
                                                  no member of board of supervisors

There are some 55 positions and boards to be appointed by the Governor. The following have no women. (They could not qualify for some)
Comptroller                                                   Industrial Commissioner
Superintendent of Banking                                                   Insurance Comissioner
Car Dispatcher                                                   Labor Comissioner
Commissioner of Health                                                   Public Safety Council
Accountancy Board                                                                                                    
Aeronautics Commission                                                   Barber Examiners
Archetectural Examiners                                                   Chiropody Examiners
Armory Board                                                   Chiropractic Examiners
Banking Board                                                   Dental Examiners
Board of Examiners in                                                   Embalmer Examiners
basic sciences                                                   Medical Examiners
Board of Control                                                   Optometry Examiners
Board of Educational                                                   Osteopathic Examiners
Examiners                                                   Pharmacy Examiners
Employment Security Commission                                                   State Printing Board
Board of Engineering Examiners                                                   Real Estate Commission
State Board of Health                                                   Soil Conservation Commission
State Highway Commission                                                   Tax Commission
Iowa Development Comm.                                                   Commission of Uniform State Laws
Liquor Control Comm.                                                   Watchmaking Examiners
       Merit System Council                                                   World War II Service
Mine Inspectors                                                   Compensation Board

We definitely feel that a number of women are well qualified to serve on some of these boards.

Women have Representation of the following boards:

Commission for the Blind -                                                   1 out of three
Conservation Commission                                                   1 out of seven
Board of Education                                                   2 out of 9
Curators -St. Historical Society                                                   7 out of 9
Hospital Advisory Council                                                   no record
Cosmetology Examiners                                                   3 women
Board of Parole                                                   1 out of 3
Nurse Examiners                                                   5 women
Social Welfare Board                                                   1 out of 3

The Governor appointed as his secretary a woman

Clerk of Supreme Court                                                   a woman
Research Analyst                                                   a woman
Secretary of State                                                   none
Auditor of State                                                   2 women examiners (out of about 60
Treasurer of State                                                   all auditors and investigators are men
Attorney General                                                   8 - all men
Secretary of Agriculture                                                   About 80 important appointments
                                                  (Women not qualified for some)
                                                  All filled by men, 1 woman
                                                  cashier replaced by man in 1952
Superintendent of Banking                                                   23 major appointments all filled
                                                  by men
State Tax Commission                                                   Secretary, 6 Divisions, Offices
                                                  located over state, auditors,
                                                  inspectors, etc. all filled by men
                                                  165 appointments

We have not included clerks, stenographers or minor appointments but only the larger boards and commissions. For information about the "List of Employees" is available from the State Printing Board.

Many Business and Professional Women are eminently qualified for many of these appointments. Let us all work for more Women in Government.

        Helen Virden
        State Chairman
        Qualified Women in Policy Making Posts


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