The Council was established in 1976 by May Brodbeck, Vice President for Academic Affairs, in response to the 1975 International Women's Year program on Women's education and employment. The Council has proposed campus policies regarding comparable worth, child care centers, affirmative action, family leave, and sexual harassment grievance procedures. Subcommittees have researched, written, and issued reports on affirmative action, the professional and scientific system, campus lighting, homophobia, and the UI report card.

CSW seeks to create opportunities for interaction among all women on campus. To that end, the council helped organize the Women’s Campus Coalition, composed of representatives from women’s organizations on campus. The Council sponsor the University’s Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women. Council members participate in candidate interviews for upper-level positions such as the president and provost. Council members also represent CSW in meetings of the Council on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Women’s Advocacy Network to exchange information about what’s happening on other Big Ten Campuses.


The Council began work on a campus climate for women report card, similar to the ones previously written by CSW. The Herstory Committee defined a new TV program called "Women at Iowa"; 3 interviews were taped and the program will air on UI TV beginning August 2008. President Sally Mason address the Council when she had been the UI's 20th president for 100 days and again at about 300 days in office.


In 2005-2006, the CSW Public Engagement Committee held a welcoming reception as part of the volunteer fair in August, 2005. The second event that group organized was a panel on youth issues held on November 2, 2005 and re-broadcast on the CITY Channel several times that month.

The Gender Equity in Athletics committee is working to see that the Athletics Merger Review Committee work continues, that responses to its spring 2005 report (pdf) are publicized, and that there be another review of the merger in 2008.

The Council conducted the second sexual harassment survey in the fall 2004, and gave this final report (pdf) to the President in January 2006. A survey follow-up committee was organized to make sure that the contents and recommendations coming out of the survey are promoted.

The Diversity & Campus Climate committee works to encourage a university climate that recruits, promotes, and retains a diverse group of women faculty, staff, and students. The committee sponsored a September 2006 panel discussion on "The Uniqueness of the University of Iowa".


In 2004-2005 the Council projects included the sexual harassment survey, athletic merger review, and events around the UI Opera the Rape of Lucretia.

Reception for new women faculty in fall 2004.

The Council re-organized and revived in 2003.


In February 1999 the Council announced the availability of its 4th annual report card (pdf) rating the status of woman at the UI. The Report Card graded the university in five areas: campus climate, salary equity, recruitment and retention, sexual harassment, and overall leadership. This report includes results from 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, as well as 1997-1998.

During the summer of 1996, the Council helped form the Women’s Campus Coalition, composed of representatives from women’s organizations on campus. The Coalition’s first project was a radio program, Women at Iowa, devoted to women’s issues. The shows included: an interview with Mary Sue Coleman, then President of the U; women in non-traditional positions; and former directors of WRAC and politically active women on campus.


Early in the second decade, the Council laid the groundwork for the University Family Leave Policy and was instrumental in proposing the University Issues charter committee. We also conducted several campus-wide surveys and shared the results with the University’s central administration.  Survey subjects included:

  •     incidence and prevalence of sexual harassment (1993; 18MB pdf)
  •     campus climate for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals
  •     pay equity for the professional and scientific staff system

In addition, the Council encouraged the development of staff tuition waivers.

During the second decade, we were pleased to join other University organizations in planning and sponsoring the annual UI Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women. The Council continues to participate in this celebration, and are especially proud of our role in publicizing and awarding the Jean Y. Jew Women’s Rights Award.

In 1994 the Council prepared the first annual report card that assessed the University’s campus climate and leadership on women’s issues.


During the Council’s first decade, it brought issues regarding child care, comparable worth, women’s athletics, women’s safety, and sexual harassment to the attention of University administration and the campus at large. See Reports for some of those results.

The Council conducted several child care surveys and studies on salary and wage equity. These surveys and studies were instrumental in bringing about the University’s comparable worth policy for merit and professional and scientific staff.  The Council also advocated for the confidentiality of sexual assault victims in the local press.