Iowa has never elected a female governor and just two years ago elected the first woman to represent Iowa in the U.S. Congress.
In terms of women in the state legislature, Iowa ranks
below the national average of 24% with women accounting for 33 of 150 members.
This trend is not only seen in Iowa. Women are underrepresented in every level of politics in the nation, and the reason behind it is quite simple.
"The biggest problem for women in politics is not that they can't get elected," said Dianne Bystrom, director of Iowa State University's Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. "It's really about getting them to run for election."
Every other year, the Catt Center
offers a program aimed at increasing engagement and representation of women in public service. Ready to Run
Iowa is a non-partisan campaign training that encourages and prepares women to run for elective office, position themselves for appointive office, serve on boards and commissions, work on a campaign, or become involved leaders in their respective communities.
Although Ready to Run Iowa addresses topics unique to women as they seek greater participation in the political process, the training is open to anyone.
Grounded in the latest research on women's political participation, program sessions are presented by local, state, and national political leaders and campaign strategists.
Each workshop is taught as an individual training session that can be attended separately. All workshops are held in the Memorial Union on campus. Space is limited, so
is required to attend.
This year, topics include:
Friday, February 17:
-Getting Started in Iowa Politics
-Launching Your Campaign
Friday, March 31:
-Fundraising for Success
-Campaign Messaging and the Media
Friday, April 28:
-Communicating with Voters
-Winning Internet Strategies
Since the program's inception in 2007, more than 265 women and men have participated in Ready to Run Iowa. Many past participants serve in elected and appointed positions at the state, county, and local levels.
Did you know? In 2012, Iowa became the first and only state in the country to set gender balance goals for boards and commissions at all levels of government. The Catt Center's most recent study indicates a need for more women in these roles as women make up 33% of county board members and 40% of municipal board members.