Women’s Experience at Iowa State from 1960-1979

Activism and Education

Women's Week

Women’s Week was a week-long event held annually at Iowa State. It was mainly comprised of guest lectures and panels that discussed anything that related to women. These events allowed for women on campus and in the community to learn and discuss topics that were relevant to them and how those topics affect them in their everyday life. Over the years, the types of events and the material covered change to cater to what the organizers felt was important to learn/discuss, but always kept the theme of woman empowerment and education.


Alice Doesn't Day

The National Organization for Women came up with the idea to show society how much women contributed. The strike day occurred on October 29th, 1975 and was called “Alice Doesn’t Day” as a reference to the 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. The strike called for every woman to abstain from work (or wear an armband in support if they could not skip) or from spending any money. The Government of the Student Body, various on-campus groups, and the then- mayor of Ames, William Pelz, supported the day. See more on the Cardinal Tales blog.


Women's Center

In the early 1970s, there was a group of women factuality members who campaigned for the creation of a center for women on campus. While the building didn’t open till 1981, discussions can be traced about a decade sooner. The committee that campaigned for the center stated that the reason was for women to have a safe space on campus for them, since Iowa State has been historically male-dominated.


Ames Women's Conference and Iowa Women’s Political Caucus State Convention

Both women from Ames and Iowa State joined groups aimed at woman empowerment. This mirrored the national trend of women becoming more politically minded. Women from both the campus and the city joined these groups and many others to campaign for a wide array of topics that dealt with women’s liberation.


Guest Speakers

Betty Friedan spoke at MacKay hall auditorium on April 4th, 1968. She was the author of The Feminine Mystique, a book which many cite as an early indicator of the women’s empowerment movement. Fran Carter spoke at Iowa State on Match 31st, 1968 about female sexuality and the “modern Eve’s role”. Both speakers were part of lecture series that focused on exploring women in modern times.


Bomb Empowerment

While the Campus Culture page shows the sexism and misogyny that was published within the Bomb, there were times when the yearbook would publish items that actually supported women’s liberation.