Minnette Doderer


"Minnette Doderer, tough-minded and outspoken, is the leading feminist in the Iowa legislature... Doderer's efforts on behalf of women are unflagging."
—Louise R. Noun, More Strong-Minded Women, 1992

Minnette Doderer of Iowa City has been the leading advocate of Women's rights during her distinguished 15-year career in the state legislature. Born in Holland, Iowa in 1923, she was elected three times each to the House of Representatives and the Senate, beginning her tenure of office in 1964. Doderer's work on rape law reform, the federal and state Equal Rights Amendments, juvenile justice, child care, and inheritance tax revision resulted in many laws that improved the legal status of women. As president pro tempore of the Senate for two years, she attained the highest position ever held by a woman in the Iowa Legislature. Doderer was one of the founding members of the Iowa Women's Political Caucus and cochair of the International Women's Year coordinating committee. Doderer was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1979.

UPDATE: Doderer continued her service in the legislature’s Iowa House of Representatives from 1981 to 2000. While in the legislature, she served as cochair of the General Assembly Women's Caucus; chair of Small Business, Economic Development & Trade; chair of Small Business and Commerce Committee; vice-chair of Budget and Taxation Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures; and chair of the Ways and Means Committee. She sponsored and was instrumental in the passage of legislation that is pertinent to Iowa women and their equality. Among the many honors and awards she has received are the Reproductive Rights Award, 1998; Business and Professional Women Woman of Achievement Award, 1997; Citation from The American Academy of Pediatrics for sponsorship of Legislation for Post Delivery Benefits and Care of Iowa’s Infants, 1996; Friend of Nursing Award, 1996; Feminist of the Year Award, 1996; Iowa City Senior Center Woman of the Year, 1995; Gold Seal Award, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1995; President Pioneer Lawmakers, 1993-95; ERA Tribute, 1992; Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice, 1989; Friend of Education Award, Iowa City, 1986; Distinguished Legislative Service Award, Iowa State Education Association; and the Good Citizenship Medal, Sons of the American Revolution.