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Event focuses on women in politics

BY JORDYN REILAND | APRIL 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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While voters in Iowa have a chance to send its first woman to Washington this November, officials from the state and Iowa City community will meet this weekend to discuss the ongoing issue of electing more women into political office.

The symposium — presented by the Public Policy Center in partnership with the Iowa Women’s Archive — will be held in the Old Capitol Museum Senate Chambers all-day this Friday, and will feature keynote speaker Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

A record number of six women are running for Congress this election, including Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak; Marianette Miller-Meeks, former director of the state Department of Public Health; and former state senator Staci Appel.

Former Rep. and Sen. Jean Lloyd-Jones, D-Iowa City, is the co-head of the 50-50 in 2020 Program, a bipartisan initiative to achieve political equity electing females to fill 50 percent of the Iowa Legislature.

She said the fact that guests from outside of the state are going to be in attendance is critical to accomplishing the goals of strengthening the number of women in political office.

“We’re not operating in a vacuum here,” she said. “We may feel like we’re the only people pushing for it, but in the last four years we’ve seen a real growth in getting the number of women in public office up.”

Friday’s events include an examination of why women do or don’t run for political office, how they govern if elected, and the documentation of the history of women in politics.

UI Public Policy Center Director Peter Damiano said this is not the first event of its kind. Three years ago, the UI held an event on political discourse with a panel on women in politics.

Lloyd-Jones said these types of large events bring awareness to the issue.

Kären Mason, the curator for Iowa Women’s Archives at the Main Library, said events such as this one are important to the campus for a number of reasons.

“Having these events on campus is great for the students that are here because it gives them the chance to meet people in the field of political science and history,” she said. “I hope that it gives some students a chance to get involved in politics and maybe run for office.”


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