Guide to the Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1978-1998
Creator: Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0400
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Organization formed to work for passage of Iowa state ERA.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: Artifacts in Box 1.

Access: The records are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The records were donated by Suzanne Schenken (donor no. 147) in 1998, by Karen Thomsen (donor no. 802) in 2001, and by Loren Shultz (donor no. 841) in 2002.

Preferred Citation: Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution 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
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Biographical Note

In late 1997, after the Iowa state ERA had failed twice (1980 and 1992), the League of Women´s Voters of Iowa initiated a new effort to protect the legal rights of the women of Iowa. The LWV convened a meeting, and a statewide committee named "ERA....Iowa Style" was formed. The group´s name was soon changed to Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution, however, to emphasize the difference between the ERA and the amendment this group was proposing. The ERA had included an enacting clause which required the state to eliminate gender discrimination. The "add women" amendment, in contrast, had no such clause. Its purpose was to clearly express Iowa´s commitment to the principle of gender equality. The proposed amendment to Article I, Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution, which is a statement of fundamental beliefs, added only two words: "All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights..."

As required by Iowa law, this amendment was passed by two consecutive sessions of the Iowa General Assembly (the 76 th in 1995 and the 77 th in 1997) before appearing on the ballot. The amendment to "add women" had strong bi-partisan support and generated little controversy, although some former ERA supporters derided it as a weak, symbolic gesture. The amendment was approved by a large majority in the general election on November 3, 1998. The group disbanded immediately after the election.

Content Description

The Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution records date from 1978 to 1998 and measure 5 linear inches. They consist largely of administrative records including lists of supporters, meeting minutes, financial information, and communication with the Sumo Group which was hired to provide services. There are also local chapter contact lists, some newspaper clippings, resumes of steering committee members, and a few buttons. One folder includes materials from earlier ERA efforts.

Related Materials

Iowa ERA Coalition records (IWA)
Iowa Women's Equality Campaign records (IWA)
ERA Iowa 1992 records (IWA)
Iowa Women Against the ERA records (IWA)

Detailed Description of the Collection

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This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Corporate Names:
League of Women Voters of Iowa
Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution


Equal rights amendments
Women's rights
Women in politics
Political campaigns

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Administrative records
Cultural artifacts

Women, Politics and the Law