Rosa Cummingham


"Rosa Cunningham made a difference in all of our lives. She was a woman of courage with strongly-held convictions and a highly principled commitment to equality.”
—Dr. Sue Follon, 1994


Rosa Cunningham, an outstanding achiever in the military and a leader in the Women's movement, served almost nine years as an enlisted woman and officer in the Women's Army Corps during World War II and remains active in several veterans’ organizations. Cunningham has been a leading spokeswoman for women since her involvement during the 1930s in the fight against so-called protective labor legislation for female workers that outlawed night work and placed “Mother” restrictions on Women's employment. Also in the 1930s, she swayed the National Federation of Business and Professional Women to endorse the Equal Rights Amendment, making it the first large, national group to do so. Cunningham was appointed to the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women in 1978. She lives in Des Moines. Cunningham was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1980.