The Iowa Women’s Foundation is committed to improving the lives of all Iowa’s women and girls. Research guides the work of the Foundation, providing the basis to shatter the barriers to economic self-sufficiency. Learn more about our organization, our initiatives, and our successes by reading our latest Fact Sheet.

Unlike many nonprofit organizations, IWF focuses on improving the lives of women and girls in Iowa by supporting research to identify important issues and solutions, so that we can invest wisely to create pathways to their economic success.

We advocate for women and girls because they need a stronger voice.

As part of our overall mission, IWF uses its research and its status as a voice of Iowa’s women and girls to drive change and improve lives.

There are many strategies for achieving systemic change: community development, media outreach, public education, and grantmaking. Our grantmaking cycles have targeted the issue of self-sufficiency, and all of IWF’s actions and funding are directed at promotion of this change.

We invite you to help us drive the change that improves the lives of Iowa’s women and girls.

IWF is focused on increasing the availability of affordable, accessible, high-quality child care in communities throughout Iowa. To do this, we’re partnering with other community organizations and business leaders to encourage more businesses to offer in-house child care and other child care related benefits. View our infographic to learn more.


IWF is proud to partner with organizations* from across the state to research the status of Iowa’s women and girls in order to solve the greatest challenges facing them.

The Iowa Women’s Foundation looks to our community to help us better understand the issues impacting women and girls in our state.

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:

  • Employment
  • Childcare
  • Housing
  • Education/training
  • Transportation
  • Mentors

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 report focuses on six key areas for change:

  • Economic self-sufficiency
  • Leadership
  • Pay equity
  • Safety from violence
  • STEM careers
  • Women-owned businesses

The 2015 report follows the earlier 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