Four women will be inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame later this summer, the Iowa Department of Human Rights and the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women announced last week.

The 2018 inductees are:

  • Dianne Bystrom (Ames): Longtime director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. Bystrom also is an author, professor, mentor, researcher, and advocate for women in politics and leadership.
  • Ruth Harkin (Cumming): Attorney, advocate and mentor. Harkin led the effort to establish the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University. She also was the first female county attorney in Story County, the first woman appointed deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the first female president and CEO of OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corp.) and first woman to serve on a number of corporate boards.
  • Dr. Jean Jew (Iowa City): Professor, researcher and emeritus faculty at the University of Iowa. Jew fought a decade-long landmark federal sexual harassment case against the University of Iowa and won. She was also a founding member of the Iowa Women’s Foundation.
  • Dr. Peggy Whitson (Houston, Texas; originally from Beaconsfield): Astronaut, scientist/biochemist and researcher. Whitson was the first female commander to lead an expedition on the International Space Station. She also was the oldest woman to walk in space, and holds the record for the most spacewalks for a female astronaut as well as the most cumulative days spent in space by an American astronaut.

The ICSW established the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1975 to highlight women's heritage and recognize their important contributions to society. Each year, the ICSW and the governor welcome four women into the Hall of Fame, paying tribute to them and setting them forth as role models for others.  

As of 2018, 176 women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Additionally, the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women also announced the recipient of the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice. The medal will be awarded to Janice Edmunds-Wells of Des Moines. Wells is a state and national advocate and activist for multicultural and women’s health equity. Wells is the former executive director for the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health at the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

The induction ceremony will take place Aug. 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust St. in Des Moines. The free event is open to the public and will be followed by a reception hosted by the Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.