Guided by Research

Unlike many nonprofit organizations, IWF is uniquely effective because our focus is guided by research. To further our mission to improve the lives of women and girls in Iowa, we must first identify the primary issues so that we can understand, invest wisely, and create pathways for change and economic success.

Learn more about our organization, our initiatives, and our successes by reading our latest Fact Sheet.

We use our research and status to drive change for Iowa’s women and girls.

IWF has identified childcare as a primary barrier and is focused on increasing the availability of affordable, accessible, high-quality childcare in communities throughout Iowa. To do this, we’re partnering with other community organizations and business leaders to educate employers on the impacts of the childcare crisis and encourage them to offer more benefits relating to childcare. 

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The Iowa Women’s Foundation partners with community organizations* to research the status of Iowa’s women and girls in order to solve the greatest challenges facing them.

In the summer of 2015, we met with leaders and members of 18 different Iowa communities to discuss how we can improve the lives of Iowa’s women and girls. The 2016 SHE MATTERS report outlines our findings and provides recommendations for breaking down the barriers that keep Iowa women from achieving economic self-sufficiency.

The 2016 SHE MATTERS report focuses on these six key areas for change:

In February 2015, the Iowa Women’s Leadership Project released its latest report, SHE MATTERS: 2015 Issues and Actions, which contains recommendations and strategies for businesses, individuals, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and elected officials to continue improving the lives of Iowa’s women and girls.

The 2015 report focuses on six key areas for change:

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Women-owned Businesses

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Safety from Violence

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Pay Equity

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Economic Self-sufficiency

The 2015 report follows the earlier Iowa Women’s Leadership Project (IWLP) publication, SHE MATTERS 2012, which detailed the current picture of Iowa’s women and girls:

  • Women owned 25% of all businesses in Iowa. That number keeps trending downward and is one of the lowest in the nation.
  • Iowa’s women work for approximately 79% of men’s income for similar positions.
  • Nearly 14% of all Iowa’s women live in poverty.
  • One out of every three women in Iowa does not have health insurance.
  • Women hold only 11% of the executive positions in Iowa’s ten largest insurance companies.

While SHE MATTERS shows that Iowa’s women and girls have made extraordinary strides in education and economic self-sufficiency in the last four decades, the data reveal important barriers to greater achievement. IWF is uniquely positioned to direct funds to projects that combat these barriers across the state.

*Partners (IWLP) include: Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference (IWLC), Chrysalis Foundation, NEXUS (Executive Women’s Alliance), Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics (Iowa State University), Iowa Department of Human Rights, Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, Iowa Network for Women in Higher Education, Women’s Connection (Quad Cities and Muscatine), Women Aware (Sioux City), The Way Up Conference, Business and Professional Women/Iowa, Women’s Leadership Network (Dubuque), Des Moines Women Connect and Mapping Strategies.