News from the Office on the Status of Women - May 2017

iowa department of human rights

May 2017

News from the
Office on the Status of Women

Coffee with a Commissioner


Join us every month for an interview with one of the commissioners of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (ICSW) to learn more about how and why they got involved in women's advocacy. Each month we will focus on a different commissioner. 

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing commissioner David Gudenkauf to talk about himself, his work, and the "why" behind the work that he does with the Commission.

David Gudenkauf

Commissioner, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women

Dave Gudenkauf

How long have you served on the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women?

I am serving my second term or fifth year on the commission. I was appointed in 2012 and reappointed in 2016.

What was one of the things that called you to serve on this specific Commission?

I wanted to address the issues that concern citizens about human rights and disparities when we find communities working with problems about gender differences. There are many discussions both in rural and urban areas that seem to make it to the Statehouse but fail to address the problems.

What is one accomplishment you've been proud of since your start on the Commission?

I haven’t seen a big accomplishment but many small ones. If there was one notable, it would be improving the juvenile justice for our Iowa youth and finding better solutions to getting better pathways to becoming improved Iowans. The strength of solving future Iowa is starting by improving the pathways for our newer generations. We can do this by improving our processes.

What is an issue that affects women and girls that you are passionate about?

Iowa women have been impacting this State for Centuries and their stories need to be told and celebrated. My passion is recognizing those women who have made this State notable way before women were allowed to be a part of the social movement. These were the women who overcame all but had their stories buried, it is hard to get these stories brought forth in our 99 counties.

What do you do in your spare time (if you have any)?

I enjoy geocaching, mentoring young children and volunteer in our local community to improve our rural activities. It is important to revive rural Iowa and revitalize those smaller communities.

To connect with commissioner David Gudenkauf, find him on LinkedIn.

Visiting our 2017 Women's History Month Video Contest Winners

Baxter Community School

In May, Iowa Department of Human Rights Director San Wong and Program Planner Kristen Corey presented awards to Baxter social studies teacher Sonya Gunderson and students Morgan Hansen,Trenton Colyn, Beau Brummel, Julie Damman and Ben Richardson. 


Treynor High School

Director Wong and Ms. Corey also travelled to Treynor High School to present awards to Business and Computer Education teacher Jennifer Anderson and students Brooklyn Houser, Caitlyn VanRiper, Jessica Vohs, and Konnor Sudmann.


The monetary awards for the 2017 Women's History Month contest were made possible by the Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.

Do you know or are you a young leader who wants to become more active?

Now accepting registrations for Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) and applications for the
State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC)


Iowa Youth Congress

Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) seeks up to 100 underrepresented Iowa high school youth ages 15-18, to participate in a year-long program which provides students the knowledge, abilities, and direction to advocate and enact change in their communities and at the state-level for issues affecting youth. This year’s IYC will hold quarterly regional meetings throughout the year, will engage students in a one-day Mock Congress event, and will host a Day on the Hill event. 

To register, fill out this form and e-mail to Brianne Potts, IYC Coordinator, at or send by mail to:

Iowa Youth Congress
Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building, 2nd Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319

State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council

The State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) is a non-partisan policy advising organization comprised of young people from across Iowa between the ages of 14 and 20. These youth leaders are selected to represent all Iowa youth and engage in topics important to young Iowans. Concerns are drafted and shared with policy makers during the legislative session.

SIYAC has 21 voting and 3 non-voting members. Quarterly meetings are held in Des Moines at the State Capitol Building; monthly meetings are held via conference calls. New members are selected in June of each year and serve two-year terms. There are no participation fees.

To apply, fill out this application and send to Lexi Konig, SIYAC Coordinator, at    

In the News: Women and girls in Iowa, the nation & the world

Breaking Barriers and Leadership


Women in Business, the Workplace and Discrimination


Upcoming Events/Seminars

Note: If you have an event taking place for women in Iowa that you would like to see added, please send it to