Skip to Content

Making Women’s History Month fun, engaging

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

With March commemorating Women’s History Month, there are plenty of resources available to teachers to make it come alive in the classroom.

Check out the National Women’s History Project, where there are lots of good tidbits of information, including some fun quizzes.

If your quest is to make Women’s History Month more localized, here are some interesting Iowa- based facts:

  • Julia C. Addington was the first woman elected to public office in Iowa – and perhaps even the United States. Addington was elected superintendent of schools for Mitchell County in 1869. 
  • In 1931, Gwendolyn Mary Wilson became the first licensed Africa-American woman pharmacist in Iowa.
  • Carrie Chapman Catt, who was raised in northern Iowa and was an Iowa State College alumna, was a key player in getting the 19th Amendment – the right for women to vote – passed.
  • Ola Babcock Miller was elected in 1932 as Iowa’s first female Secretary of State. During her tenure, she created the predecessor to today’s Iowa Highway Patrol.
  • Arabella Mansfield, living in Mount Pleasant, became the first female lawyer in the United States in 1869.
  • Nearly 50 years later, Gertrude Elzora Durden Rush was the first African-American female lawyer in Iowa, when she was admitted to the bar in 1918.
  • Carolyn Campbell Pendray became the first elected female to the Iowa Legislature in 1928. She served two terms, and then was elected a state senator, again serving two terms before stepping down.
  • Edna May Griffin was known as the “Rosa Parks of Iowa” after she arranged a sit-in in 1948 at the Katz Drugstore in Des Moines. She had been refused service after ordering ice cream because she was African American. She took the fight to the Iowa Supreme Court, where she won.
Article Type: 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 25, 2018 at 5:02pm.