Iowa’s governor part of historic trend

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America’s governors will be women next year, which is a record.

Iowa reelected a woman to the state’s highest office for the first time in the state’s history. And Republican Kim Reynolds is in good company, as there are now more female governors in the U.S. than ever before.

Iowa State University political science professor and director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics Karen Kedrowski says electing a woman is not just symbolic. It also has a direct effect on getting things accomplished.

“Women are really motivated by wanting to fix something,” Kedrowski explained. “We hear over and over again, ‘I never envisioned that I would run for …’ fill in the blank. And then, they relate a story about something that happened that motivated them to run for office.”

Despite the fact Iowa’s highest political offices have been dominated by men, Kedrowski argued the results of the election prove Iowans do not discriminate against women in politics.

Kedrowski noted more women have spent the last three decades building their political resumes, entering such career fields as law, business and journalism. She added those professions considered most friendly to public service better prepare them for office than has been the case in the past.

“For a long time, there was this perception that women were ‘weak’ candidates and that voters would not vote for women,” Kedrowski pointed out. “We know that is absolutely, positively not true. So, the challenge then becomes getting women who are qualified to build the political resume, so that they can be competitive.”

Both people who were their party’s nominees for governor of Iowa are women, but overall, Kedrowski said women remain underrepresented in executive positions.