In 1947, Laura DeGowin, president of the Iowa League, wrote to Iowa Governor Robert Blue to enlist Blue's support of the formation of a presidential Commission on the Legal Status of Women in the United States. In her correspondence with Governor Blue, DeGowin highlighted the reasons the League supported this approach as an alternative to the ERA and encouraged Blue to acknowledge the serious nature of sex discrimination in a democratic society. Iowa's League of Women Voters was in constant correspondence with state politicians in its lobbying efforts for various reforms.
200 Iowa State Bank & Trust Co. Bldg., Iowa City, Iowa.
November 18, 1947.
The Honorable Robert D. Blue,
Des Moines, Iowa.
Dear Governor Blue,
Enclosed is a copy of the "Women's Status Bill" (HR-2007) which was introduced in the House of Representatives last February, and has also been introduced in the Senate (S.J. Res. 67).You are probably already familiar with its provisions.The bill would establish a Commission on the Legal Status of Women to study, review and investigate the economic, civil, social and political status of women and the extent of the discrimination based on sex; it would declare a policy that no distinctions on the basis of sex should be made in the law or its administration in the United States, except such as are reasonably justified, and require immediate conformity by the executive branch of the federal government.The bill would also urge states to examine their peculiar situation with regard to this problem.
I have been asked by the National Committee on the Status of Women of the United States, of which the League is a member, to present this matter to you for your study and endorsement, if you agree with its proposals. I realize that in the face of unsettled international conditions, inflation, tax considerations and many other important problems,the question of legal inequalities of women does not loom very large. However, it is a continuing problem and one of the steps in the progress of securing as democratic government as possible. It seems to me that the method for solving this problem of discrimination proposed in HR 2007 is much better than trying to amend the federal constitution--which is a long and tedious process and which would cause confusion and do away with some very progressive state legislation. The bill has been introduced by members of both parties and has the support of leading women's and civic organizations.
A short history of the bill, and a suggestion for the form of the statement are included for your convenience
Very sincerely yours, Mrs. E.L. DeGowin, President.
P.S. The enclosed statement is purposely phrased to permit you to approve the principles and provision of this Bill as they relate to matters properly within your jurisdiction. Your approval could not be construed as an invasion of the province of the Iowa Congressmen; nor would it be used to influence them. It would be used at the Hearing to offer proof that the fact-finding Commission provided for in this Bill would furnish expert guidance to State Legislatures in removing or supplementing discriminatory legislation and that this is a sounder method of attaining "equal rights" than a blanket amendment to the Constitution.