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

iowa department of human rights

November 2017

News from the
Office on the Status of Women

Today is Election Day!


There are a number of female candidates on the ballot for municipal elections throughout the state this Election Day. If you're able to vote, today is your chance! 

For a list of polling places in Iowa, click hereIf you have questions about who is on your ballot or general voting questions, contact your local county auditor.

#MeToo: How can we support survivors?

On social media, you may have noticed a flood of posts with the hashtag #MeToo. In light of the countless accusations of sexual assault and harassment against several public figures, people across the country have decided to share their story of sexual violence through the #MeToo campaign.

As a Junior at Simpson College, I am part of an organization called SARA. SARA stands for Sexual Assault Response Advocate and my job is just that: to advocate for victims of sexual assault. Members of this organization have completed 30 hours of training on how to support survivors and I would like to share what I have learned through my experience as an advocate. So, if you're wondering how to support someone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment, here are a few suggestions:

  • Listen. It's not as important to know exactly what to say as it is to simply listen to the survivor. Focus less on how to respond perfectly and focus more on what they are telling you.
  • Let the person know you support and believe them. A fear among survivors of sexual assault is they will not be believed if they tell their story. It can sound awkward to say "I believe you", but saying so shows your support and trust in the survivor.
  • Point them towards resources. There are various resources for survivors, such as: sexual assault hotlines, counseling services, shelters for domestic violence survivors, and sexual assault exams. It's as simple as a Google search to find out where these resources are closest to you. 
  • Don't tell them how to respond to their trauma. Let the survivor decide the actions they want to take. For example, you can suggest the option of reporting the crime, but don't be upset if that's not a process they can emotionally go through at this time.

To those who decided to share their story through the #MeToo campaign: thank you. To those who did not feel comfortable doing so, that's ok; you are brave for surviving the trauma you experienced. 

Written by: Liz Nimmo, Intern, Office on the Status of Women

Do you know of an Iowa woman to nominate for the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame?

HOF 2017

Every year, the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (ICSW) selects four women to be inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame and one recipient for the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice.

If you know a woman, deceased or living, who should be in the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame, please consider nominating her for 2018 induction. For more information about the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame and the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice, click here. (Nominations for the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice are open to any gender.)

Nominations for both awards are due April 1, 2018.

We want you as a Commissioner!

If you are interested in advocating for women and girls in Iowa, then you might consider applying to serve on the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (ICSW). The time to apply is now! 

For more information on the roles of commissioners, click here. To apply for a position on the ICSW, click here.


Looking for grant funding opportunities?

Komen Greater Iowa Affiliate

The Komen Greater Iowa Affiliate (which serves 106 counties) has its 2018-2019 Request for Application/grant process information now available for the December 22, 2017 grant applicant deadline. 

All the information needed to consider and complete a grant application is available to download from the website.

Office on Violence Against Women

The Office on Violence Against Women supports activities that improve the capacity of communities and courts to respond to families impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, including cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse.

Eligible activities for the Justice for Families solicitation include court-based and court-related programs; supervised visitation and safe exchange by and between parents; training and technical assistance for people who work with families in the court system; civil legal services; provision of resources in juvenile court matters; and development or promotion of legislation, model codes, policies, and best practices.


  • November 29: Letter of registration due
  • December 20: Application due

Click the following link to download the solicitation.

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

Women's Health

Gender-based Violence

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