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Iowa women offered chance to see what’s inside legislature

Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:32 a.m. CDT

Politically-inclined women across Iowa are invited to participate in a two-day seminar aimed at “demystifying” the state legislature.

“See Yourself Here” takes place April 8-9 at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, free of charge to registrants.

The event is the brain-child of Jean Lloyd-Jones, co-founder of 50-50 in 2020, a state-wide bipartisan initiative to get women elected to Iowa’s Legislature, congressional delegation and governor’s office.

“It’s been my experience that the state Capitol has the effect of seeming ‘other worldly’ and unapproachable to people not familiar with it,” said Lloyd-Jones, a former state lawmaker from Iowa City. “If that’s one of the things holding women back from pursuing service as a state legislator, we want to show them it’s a place where they can feel comfortable and function without a problem.”

The seminar opens at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 8, in the Capitol Rotunda, followed by a keynote address by Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University. The Catt Center for Women and Politics and the University of Iowa’s N.E.W. Leadership Program are sponsoring “See Yourself Here” in collaboration with 50-50 in 2020.

The seminar’s events include briefings by legislative bureau and chamber staff members, a “behind-the-chambers” tour, meetings with lobbyists and elected leaders, attendance at a committee meeting and chamber session, as well as time for socializing. There is no fee for the seminar; however, participants are responsible for their own transportation, overnight accommodations and meals.

Lloyd-Jones is urging women from all parts of Iowa to take the opportunity to investigate the Capitol’s workings.

“If we’re going to succeed in bringing gender equality to the chambers of our beautiful Capitol by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote, we need to create a new and steady surge of inspired and interested females from every part of the state,” she said. “This seminar is designed to help do that.”

Participants must register to attend. Registrant’s name, address, home and cell phone numbers should be sent to info@50-50in2020.org More information about the seminar can be found on the group’s website at www.50-50in2020.org.

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