LEAN IN: Women Say Tough to Be Leader

“I don’t want to be viewed as THAT woman,” said State representative Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake. Upmeyer serves as Iowa’s first-ever female house majority leader. She said being an assertive leader is a challenge. Upmeyer added, “I don’t want to be seen as aggressive. Absolutely as an assertive woman that is knowledgable and prepared.”

Upmeyer and Senator Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, both appeared on Channel 13’s “The Insiders” to address both the praise and criticism for a new book, “Lean In”, written by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Both women acknowledge a female who shows strong leadership gets unfairly called pushy or worse. Petersen said, “It does seem like women need more encouragement. They need more push. Men don’t seem to need that as much as women do. So we need to do a better job to push women to take leadership roles.”

The two lawmakers, both working mothers, also admit feeling guilty about the time commitments their job requires of them. Upmeyer said, “Absolutely,” that she has felt torn about serving in public office, which requires her to drive nearly two hours to Des Moines’ state capitol building and said she couldn’t have run for office if her children were still young. “Not from two hours away. Not in our current culture,” she said.

Petersen said she was a newlywed when she ran for office. “My kids have known no other life.”

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The two lawmakers say while there may seem to be two far different plans to reform health care before them at the statehouse, they may actually be close to coming to agreement.

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Upmeyer and Petersen give their takes on what’s the best way to use the state’s surplus tax dollars in light of comments by Republican State Auditor Dave Vaudt.

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It’s time for a pay raise according to some Iowa lawmakers. What is the least money Iowans should make per hour? Plus, the two lawmakers give their fast takes on everything from making a point with props to Coffeegate to why we can carry a hockey stick on an airplane but not shampoo.

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The panelists offer predictions for the future that are both very similar and very different at the same time.

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