Women’s Experience at Iowa State from 1960-1979

Women's Health and Wellness

Gynecological clinic

Women at Iowa State had a gynecological clinic near them, which is a privilege that some other women did not have. However, the clinic was not as “women-friendly” as it should have been. The head doctor and many of the male administrators who ran the clinic were often reported as being demeaning, callous, and dismissive of various women’s complaints. The only worker at the clinic whom women reported that they trusted was Nurse Bates. You can see the assorted newspaper articles about her in the Key Figures and Groups page. The tentative report on the student environment notes that the gynecological clinic was the only part of the clinic that charged patients. Their fee was $10, which, accounting for inflation, would cost a woman today $60.70.

The Self-Help Clinic

The Women’s Self-Help Clinic was a subset of the Women’s Coalition group and was created as a way for women to be educated about their bodies and to receive some basic gynecological services. The clinic was opened due to women having problems with the male-run gynecological clinic. Here, women could learn about various birth-control options, demonstrations of different exams, and be tested for pregnancy.

(Gynecology service offered at women’s clinic, The Iowa State Daily, October 4, 1974, Women’s Coalition, box 4, Political and Social Action Student Organizations Subject Files, 1916-[ongoing], ISU SCUA)

Rape Seminars and Clinic

Iowa State University had a Rape Crisis Center (a sub-group of volunteers from the Women’s Coalition) that was supposed to be a quick resource for a woman if she was raped. However, the clinic was often reported as being slow and the clinic did not have a phone. If a woman wanted to call and ask for services, she had to contact a different service and wait for the clinic to get back to them.

(Rape Center is slow to respond, The Iowa State Daily, January 9, 1976, Women’s Coalition, box 4, Political and Social Action Student Organizations Subject Files, 1916-[ongoing], ISU SCUA)


Day Care

The Ad Hoc University Day Care Committee was established in 1971. Their purpose was to create a university-run day care system that served the students, faculty, and staff with children. The creation of a day care system primarily assisted female students, whose education would otherwise have had to be cut short or limited due to having a child. The day care afforded practical experience to students whose major related to taking care of children.


Human Sexuality Symposium

The Human Sexuality Symposium was held annual on campus from 1970 to approximately 1975. The symposium featured various speakers, workshops, and discussion groups revolving around different aspects of human sexuality. The symposium’s organizers hoped that they event would help students learn and understand different sexualities.


"Sex & Your Head" Program

"Sex & Your Head" was a collaboration between the YWCA, Committee on Human Sexualities, and the Mid-Iowa Community Action Family Planning Department. Together, these groups created the program to combat the stigma involving sex, birth-control, and pregnancy. The program would educate and help students on campus about those topics and would aid in any student who needs help pertaining to those topics.


National Women-Controlled Health Projects Conference

Held at the Collegiate Methodist Church in November of 1974, the first National Women-Controlled Health Projects Conference was an opportunity for women in healthcare professions to meet and discuss women’s healthcare in a more feminist light. This multi-day event gave women in healthcare the ability to learn and workshop different aspects of women’s lives in relation to health.