|Creator:||Polk County Women's Political Caucus|
|Extent:||8.00 linear inches.|
|Repository:||Iowa Women's Archives|
|Summary:||County branch of a national organization to support candidates who promote women's rights and women's participation in the political process.|
Access: The records are open for research.
Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
Acquisition: The records (donor no. 20) were donated by Victoria Herring in 1998 as part of the Iowa Women's Political Caucus records.
Preferred Citation: Polk County Women's Political Caucus records, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.
|Repository:||Iowa Women's Archives|
|Address:||100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Upon her return from the first National Women's Political Caucus convention in Texas in early 1973, Roxanne Barton Conlin, then Assistant Attorney General for the State of Iowa, initiated the organization of both a state and a local chapter of the caucus. She called a meeting for June 26, 1973 to organize the Polk County Women's Political Caucus (PCWPC); Jo Von Stein served as the chair, and the caucus became active almost immediately. The first monthly newsletter was published in July 1973, and an application for affiliation with the newly-formed state chapter was submitted in June 1974.
The caucus was governed by a Steering Committee consisting of the chair, vice-chair, recording secretary, corresponding secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, three delegates to the State Steering Committee, and chairs of the standing committees, initially Political Action, Finance, Public Relations, Membership, Legislative, and Program. At times, additional members were appointed to the Steering Committee to represent other organizations of interest to the caucus, including the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women and the Metro Women's Network. The Steering Committee met monthly. The PCWPC membership lists from 1974-1975 show nearly 300 members, while those from 1983-1984 (last available in collection) are closer to 200 members.
The purpose of the organization as stated in the bylaws was to "ensure first class citizenship and free and equal participation in the political process" to all persons of the state of Iowa. The caucus supported candidates who promoted women's rights, and worked to increase women's participation in the political process as voters, activists, lobbyists, candidates, campaign workers, and elected officials. The priorities of the caucus covered a wide range of issues including sexism in education and the workplace, the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, child care, and improving women's access to credit. The caucus placed an emphasis on active involvement in local elections; members distributed questionnaires to candidates to learn their views, hosted candidate forums for school board, city council, and other local elections, and endorsed candidates.
The PCWPC faced internal conflict on some of the same issues that were difficult for the state caucus: establishing endorsement guidelines and procedures, maintaining an active membership, and having a clear and unified purpose. The records show repeated returns to discussions of these themes.
As an affiliate member of the Iowa Women's Political Caucus (IWPC) located in the state capital and largest city of Iowa, the PCWPC was more involved with the IWPC than most local caucuses. The IWPC held many events in Des Moines, including lobbying efforts, receptions for legislators, and the annual auction, and also hosted occasional visits by members of the National Women's Political Caucus. Many of the chairs of the IWPC and other high profile political women in Iowa were members of the PCWPC, including Katherine Ella, Alicia Claypool, Roxanne Conlin, Victoria Herring, Louise Noun, Mary Louise Smith, Julia Gentleman, and Jo Ann Zimmerman.
This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.