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

iowa department of human rights

October 2017

News from the
Office on the Status of Women

October 11th is the International Day of the Girl

Picture of globe

In December 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. The mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” 

This day (and movement) is based on the following beliefs:

  • Girls are the experts on issues that affect girls. The solutions to these issues must come from girls. Their voices need to be centralized and elevated in social justice conversations.
  • Girls from marginalized communities must be central in conversations about social justice issues involving those communities. 
  • Truly effective social change cannot come without girls' leadership.
  • Girls' issues are intersectional. We must intentionally include people who are different from ourselves in our social change work. 

To learn more about the movement in the U.S. for the International Day of the Girl Child, click here.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DV Awareness Month

Since 1981, October has been nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The idea was brought forth by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization whose goal is to end violence against women and children.

What is Domestic Violence?

“Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically” (NCADV, 2015).


  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
  • 61% of bisexual women have or will experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 44 percent of lesbians and 35 percent of heterosexual women.
  • 23.1% of gay men have or will experience rape, physical assault or stalking by an intimate partner.

If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, here are some resources:

Iowa Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-770-1650 (or text "iowahelp" to 20121)

National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) 24/7

Sources: ICADVNCADV, Human Rights Campaign, National Domestic Violence Hotline

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4% of women born in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Due to its high rate of occurrence in women, many of us know or have known someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer. For advice on how to support a loved one who has been diagnosed, consider reading this article.

For women, it's important to know how to perform self examinations because recognizing the signs of breast cancer early-on will increase the possibility of successful treatment. For step-by-step instructions and information on self breast examinations, click here.

To learn more about the signs of breast cancer, check out the informational graphic in this article.

Iowa Commission on the Status of Women meeting to be held on October 12th

The next meeting for the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women will take place on October 12th, 2017 at the Iowa Secretary of State's office (large conference room off of main lobby/entrance), 1st Floor, Lucas State Office Building, in Des Moines, Iowa from 2-5:00 p.m.

Call-in number: 844-891-9182
Conference code: 233-539-3699

Meetings are open to the public. For accommodations, please contact Kristen Corey in advance of the meeting at 515-281-4470 or

Remember the 1977 Women's Convention?

If you attended or know someone who attended the 1977 Houston Women's Convention, then this opportunity may interest you. The same group that organized the international women's march in early 2017 is organizing a National Women's Convention in Detroit, from October 27th to 29th. If you are willing to share your story of the 1977 Houston Women's Convention, the Women's March would like to invite you as a guest to their convention. 

If interested, please contact the organizers at

1977 Houston Women's Conference

Remembering those we have lost

The Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office on the Status of Women and the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women would like to take this time to recognize and honor those we have lost over the last several months. These influential women have left the world a better place because of their activism, advocacy work, and much more.

Iowa Women's Hall of Fame members

Evelyne Villines, passed away on September 30, 2017

Grace Amemiya, passed away on July 22, 2017

Note: If you know of a member of the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame or a past commissioner we inadvertently missed, please let us know at Thank you for your help.

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

Women's Health

Gender-based Violence

Breaking Barriers and Leadership

Women in Sports

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