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Will We See More Women Elected Now That Iowa Has a Female Governor? Maybe.

Courtesy of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center
Attendees at a "Ready to Run" conference at Iowa State University

After 171 years of statehood and 40 previous male chief executives, Iowa has it’s first female governor. Kim Reynolds took office yesterday as former Governor Terry Branstad leaves to take office as U.S. Ambassador to China.

Dianne Bystrom is the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics. Now that the state has a female governor and has a woman serving in Congress, Bystrom says it’s not unlikely we’ll see more women getting elected in the statehouse by way of a phenomenon political scientists call “the multiplier effect.”

“It is particularly strong for having a woman elected governor elected to the U.S. Senate. She found that had a trickle down effect, along with some other factors, in electing more women to the state legislature," says Bystrom.

There are now six female governors nationwide. The most females who have held that post at the same time is nine. 

During this River to River conversation, host Ben Kieffer talks with Bystrom and Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River