Des Moines, Iowa — An Iowa Senate committee has approved a bill to remove the requirement that state and local government boards and commissions have an equal number of men and women.
A federal judge recently ruled that Iowa’s gender balance requirement for the State Judicial Nominating Commission violates the US Constitution’s equal protection clause. Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, says a woman who’s a former constituent wanted to serve on the commission, but couldn’t because a man had to be appointed to meet the gender balance requirement.
Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from Des Moines, says women have not yet reached gender parity in Iowa.
Senator Carrie Koelker, a Republican from Dyersville, says the gender balance requirement muffles input on boards and commissions.
Senator Janet Weiner, a Democrat from Iowa City, says the gender balance requirement has given women the confidence to seek leadership roles in state and local government.
The bill cleared the Senate State Government Committee and a House subcommittee last week. Last year, Governor Reynolds said she favors getting rid of Iowa’s gender balance requirement for all state and local government boards and commissions.