News from the Office on the Status of Women - October 2018

iowa department of human rights

October 2018

News from the
Office on the Status of Women

Next Iowa Commission on the Status of Women meeting:

Oct. 25th, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

ICSW logo

The next Iowa Commission on the Status of Women meeting will be held on Thursday, October 25th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 319 of the Lucas State Office Building, located at 321 E. 12th St. in Des Moines. The agenda will be posted here 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

This meeting is open to the public. For accommodations, please contact Kristen Corey at at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

October is
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Safe at Home Program and the
"Share Their Story" Initiative

Safe at Home logo

Survivors of domestic violence often live in constant fear. Their days are filled with anxiety, knowing that their offender might strike again. Sadly, this is a scenario many Iowans face every day. There were almost 3,000 domestic violence-related convictions in the state of Iowa in 2017. Nationally, one in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Many of us know someone who is a victim of one of these heinous crimes, or perhaps you are even a survivor yourself.

This October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Safe at Home program is raising awareness for domestic violence by launching an initiative called “Share Their Story.” This initiative is a chance for our community to share survivors’ stories to raise awareness and to point people to community resources. Oftentimes, people who experience domestic violence are not comfortable sharing their stories publicly. “Share Their Story” allows the public to hear two different stories from Iowans that are spoken by different members of the community and encourages us as fellow members of the community to break the silence surrounding domestic violence. To view these powerful videos and participate in this initiative, visit

By sharing stories of domestic violence, we hope to raise awareness for the need of programs like Safe at Home. Safe at Home is a statewide address confidentiality program that helps survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and stalking. The program provides participants with a substitute address, mail forwarding, confidential voter registration and absentee voting. Participants in the program can engage in civic activities such as voting via absentee ballot, obtaining a driver’s license, and registering their children for school, while still ensuring their address remains private. The Safe at Home program is most effective for participants who have recently relocated, as it is not possible to redact addresses that are already listed on public records.

Since its launch in January 2016, hundreds of Iowans have benefited by adding the Safe at Home program as part of their safety plan. If you or someone you know is looking for a way out, Safe at Home can help. For more information or an application, visit the website at or call the office at 515-725-7233. For crisis support, contact the Iowa Victim Service 24-Hour Helpline at 1-800-770-1650 or text IOWAHELP to 20121.

Guest author: Melanie Shellenberger, Director of the Safe at Home program, Iowa Secretary of State office, Des Moines, Iowa

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Facts

Pink flower

In the United States:

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 460 will die each year.
  • On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the U.S. today. 

Early detection is important!

For resources about early detection, visit:

Statewide/Community Announcements

Iowa Latino Hall of Fame to take place on
Saturday, October 20th

Five remarkable Iowans, including a Latino youth and a Latino Ambassador, will be inducted into the Second Iowa Latino Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 20, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. at the Iowa State Historical Building, 600 East Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa. Spanish and ASL interpretation will be provided.

The Iowa Latino Hall of Fame is held around National Latino & Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, which celebrates and honors the contributions made by Latinos in the United States.

Highlights include:

Latino Hall of Fame Awards to:

  • Ernest Rodriguez, Bettendorf, IA 
  • Salvador (Chavo) Lopez, Davenport, IA 
  • Warren Morrow (posthumous), Des Moines, IA

The First Iowa Latinx Youth Leadership Award to:

  • Vanessa Espinoza, Columbus Junction, IA

The First Iowa Latino Ambassador Award for Equity and Justice to:

  • Governor Robert D. Ray (posthumous), Des Moines, IA 

To celebrate the honorees, their families and friends, the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs will host a reception immediately following the ceremony in the atrium of the Iowa State Historical Building. The reception is free and open to the public and sponsored by Community 1st Credit Union. Attendees do not need to register.

The Iowa Latino Hall of Fame was established by the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs. Awards will be presented to the recipients by Lorena Gingerich, chair of the 2018 Iowa Latino Hall of Fame selection committee; Nick Salazar, community member and member of the selection committee; and members of the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs. 

Do you know a high school student interested in becoming a page in the Iowa legislature?

The Iowa Legislature is looking for high school students to learn more about the legislative process by applying to serve as a Legislative Page for the 2019 Legislative Session.

Legislative Pages provide invaluable assistance to representatives and staff by running errands, delivering messages, and distributing bills and amendments. Pages also assist legislative members at committee meetings and help the chairperson by handing out materials during the meetings. Pages will work with staff and legislators in the Iowa State Capitol building.

Applications are being accepted until the end of todayFriday, October 5, 2018. Guidelines for the program:

•    Student must be 16 years of age 
•    Applications are accepted for the Senate, House, or Legislative Services Agency
•    Uniforms are provided
•    Living arrangements are unsupervised and must be found on your own
•    Students are responsible for transportation to and from the State Capitol
•    This is a paid position and some excused absences are permitted
•    Students are expected to be able to handle any school responsibilities
•    Parental permission is required to participate in this program

For more details and how to apply go to  

Young Women's Resource Center (YWRC) in Des Moines to host: "Breaking Barriers: A Celebration of Female Firsts"

Breaking Barriers: A Celebration of Female Firsts will be held on November 5th, 5:30-7:30pm, at the Historical Building, located at 600 E. Locust St. in Des Moines. As part of their 40th Anniversary Series, the YWRC will be honoring 40 incredible women whose accomplishments have broken barriers in Iowa. The event will include a brief program, a panel discussion and a reception that will include informational displays as well as light hors d’oeuvres. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit:

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

Upcoming Events/Seminars/Conferences

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