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Local

Vision 2020 awards county Certificate of Equality

Agency claims 38 percent of board, commission seats held by women

Florine Swanson, an Iowa delegate of Vision 2020, an initiative promoting gender equity, presents Jasper County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Cupples with a Certificate of Equality Tuesday during the board's weekly meeting.
Florine Swanson, an Iowa delegate of Vision 2020, an initiative promoting gender equity, presents Jasper County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Cupples with a Certificate of Equality Tuesday during the board's weekly meeting.

For strengthening gender equity through its collaborative leadership among women and men, Jasper County was awarded a Certificate of Equality by the organization Vision 2020 on Tuesday morning during the board of supervisors meeting.

As the weekly meeting concluded, board chairman Doug Cupples opened the discussion for public comments and input. During this time Florine Swanson, Iowa representative of Vision 2020, a national initiative dedicated to advancing women’s economic and social equality, presented Cupples and his fellow board member, Joe Brock, and vice chair, Denny Carpenter, with the certificate.

The award itself states: “Vision 2020 presents this award to Jasper County, Iowa on the 11th of September, 2018 for advancing gender equality through shared leadership among women and men on all seven key boards and commissions in Jasper County, Iowa. Your commitment to shared leadership is truly advancing the future of gender equality.”

Swanson clarified Wednesday the seven boards listed on the certificate were not necessarily the parameters Jasper County needed to meet to accept the organization’s recognition, noting the all-male board of supervisors. From the data Swanson and Vision 2020 gathered, approximately 38 percent of seats on county boards or commissions were held by women.

Vision 2020 is national coalition founded and operated by Drexel University College of Medicine, of Philadelphia, Pa., consisting of individuals and other agencies in all 50 states with a drive to achieve progress in women’s economic, political and social equality.

“Each of us that is a delegate (in Vision 2020) has an opportunity to take on a project, and so my project revolves around the code that was passed in Iowa in 2012 that required gender-based appointments so that we would have equity on all boards and commissions,” Swanson told the board Tuesday.

The law, Swanson said, is the Gender Balance Project, passed about six years ago. According to the Iowa Department of Human Rights website, the law requires political subdivisions within the state to gender balance the appointments of “municipal commissions, committees, boards and councils.”

Presently, Jasper County is one of four Iowa counties identified by Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics to meet the gender equality terms, Swanson added. The remaining three counties include Harrison, Scott and Winneshiek. According to a Vision 2020 document provided by Swanson, many counties have made progress to maintain their gender equity status even if they have only “fallen one or two committees short.”

This year’s round of honors is the third study Carrie Chapman Catt Center has conducted; the previous two took place in 2013 and 2015. Jasper and Winneshiek Counties are new recipients of Vision 2020’s Certificate of Equality. Scott County has maintained the requirement for all three studies. Harrison County has preserved its award two consecutive times.

“The next time we (conduct the study) I hope I hear Jasper County again,” Swanson said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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