Thursday, March 19, 2009

Iowa Legislature Votes for Gender Balance

The AP reports the Iowa House has backed measures intended to increase the number of women on hundreds of local government boards and fight against pay discrimination.

The first measure would expand a 22-year-old law requiring gender balance on state panels to include hundreds of local boards and commissions. Statistics show women make up 18 percent of the membership on those panels despite comprising more than half of Iowa's population.

The other measure would extend federal legislation banning pay discrimination by businesses with 15 or more workers. The state law would drop that figure to four.

Both measures were approved Wednesday and go to the Senate.
Perhaps this will allow the possibility for more women to be elected to state and national offices--Iowa continues to be one of only three states that has never elected a woman as governor or to Congress.

On the other hand, it is often difficult on the local level to find interested citizens to serve on boards. Whether this attempt to create gender equity is helpful or creates an environment that makes it more difficult to deliver local governance is a great question.
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