Celebrating Inspirational Iowa Women on International Women’s Day

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IOWA — March 8 is International Women’s Day. It is a day to discuss equality, biases and celebrate the achievements of women. Erin Kiernan and Sonya Heitshusen have had the privilege of meeting many inspirational women because of their jobs as reporters. On International Women’s Day, they recognize just some of the Iowa women who have inspired them.

Mary Davis and Linda Frangenberg

Topping the list are Mary Davis and Linda Frangenberg. Davis was the first woman hired by the Des Moines Fire Department in 1982. Frangenberg joined the ranks a few years later.

Neither one of them views themselves as “trailblazers.” They said they just wanted to do the job and had a passion for it.

Jane Meyer and Tracey Griesbaum

Other women were very much aware of their role in the workplace and how they were being mistreated.

Jane Meyer sued the University of Iowa after she and her partner, Tracey Griesbaum, were both fired. Meyer had been the senior associate athletic director and Griesbaum had been the head women’s field hockey coach. A jury awarded Meyer $1.4 million based on gender and sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation and whisteblower violations, and unequal pay.

Kirsten Anderson

The former communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus received a similar verdict as Meyer and Griesbaum. Kirsten Anderson sued the state after she was fired just days after she complained about the toxic work environment at the statehouse. She detailed countless examples of female staffers being harassed about their sex lives, bodies and clothes.

Sheila Lynch

After her daughter TereseAnn Lynch was murdered by her estranged husband, Sheila Lynch worked tirelesslessly to improve the lives of women experiencing domestic violence and to change domestic violence laws.


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