Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa



RECORDS, 1978-1998
5 linear inches


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Campaign to Add Women to the Iowa Constitution Records, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

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.
The records are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
In Box 1.
Processed by:
Jamie Nelson, 2000. Revised by Sharon M. Lake in 2005.[CampaigntoAddWomen.doc]


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.

Scope and Content Note

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 Collections

Iowa ERA Coalition
Iowa Women’s Equality Campaign
ERA Iowa 1992
Iowa Women Against the ERA

Box List

Box 1                          
  Brochures and logos, 1998 and undated                  
  Campaign materials and plans, 1998                  
  Email correspondence, 1998 (2 folders)                  
  Finances and fundraising, 1998                  
  Lists of supporters, 1998                  
  Local coalitions, 1998                  
  Mailings and newsletter, 1998                  
  Materials from earlier ERA efforts, 1978, 1983, and undated        
  Meeting minutes, 1997, 1998                  
  Press and publicity, 1998                  
  Sample ballot, 1998                  
  Steering committee, 1998                  
  Sumo Group, 1998                  
  Artifacts, buttons                  

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For more information about this collection contact the Iowa Women's Archives.

Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City IA 52242.
Copyright © 2005. The University of Iowa. All rights reserved.
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This p age was created April 2005.