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Gender Balance Project

A 2009 law that localized the scope of gender equity in Iowa went into effect on January 1, 2012. It requires “all political subdivisions of the state” to be gender balanced in their appointments to municipal commissions, committees, boards and councils. As Iowa communities work to include qualified women in these decision-making and leadership positions, the Office on the Status of Women is connecting local governments with women interested in appointments.

Although women make up more than half of Iowa’s population and outnumber men in 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties, historically they’ve been underrepresented on local boards and commissions, especially those that make economic decisions for communities. Likewise, men are underrepresented on other types of councils, such as library boards. Some municipalities have had no formal application process. Some report difficulty finding local women willing to serve—even though women in Iowa volunteer at significantly higher rates than men.

The Office on the Status of Women and the Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women are identifying women whose capabilities match local requirements for service and assisting local governments in how to fill available seats with female community leaders. 


If you are a woman looking to serve on a local board or commission:

  1. Sign up for the Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women's talent bank database. 
  2. Read through our Five Step Guide to City and County Boards and Commissions and How to Get Appointed.
  3. Contact us and let us know how we can help you. 

If you are a city or county that is looking for more women to serve on your local boards or commissions: 

  1. View the Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women's talent bank database. The database can be sorted by city or county.
  2. Read through our publication, Recruiting Gender Balanced Boards and Commissions: A Guide for Cities and Counties.
  3. Contact us