All men are created equal… does not just apply to men

WSS staffer Paige Albright ’23 looks into Iowa’s history of equal rights for women and influential suffragist leaders from the past to today.

As March commemorates Women’s history around the globe, WSS takes a closer look into Iowa’s past surrounding the rights of women. Given that Iowa had a progressive past when it comes to equal rights for men, does it share the same values for the rights of women?

When reflecting on how recent some of the firsts are for women in the state, it really points to an unjust past where women were given few rights. However, Iowa has led the nation in many feats in the goal of equality for women. Iowa had the first female and African American female lawyer. Iowa has always fought to provide equal rights to education for both men and women which, when compared to other states, is an anomaly.

As Iowa’s first female representative to be elected to the national legislature was only in 2014, a mere seven years ago, the long past of discrimination must not be pushed aside. Even though Iowa has led the charge in education for all, it has not in terms of voting rights for women. Many bills failed in state legislature to give women the right to vote. Like the notorious referendum of 1916, deciding upon the suffragist rights of women, whose results were challenged due to voting fraud.

As the nation and the state work towards a future of equal rights and liberties for all, looking back to see where the nation has grown from is important to see what we must do to ensure a brighter future.