Bystrom's Career Bookended by Women's Political Surges

May 21, 2018

Dianne Bystrom is the Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. When she came to Iowa in 1996, she had been studying a big year in politics for women: the 1992 election, which brought a huge increase in women holding political office. 

Bystrom is retiring this summer after serving as the Center’s director for 22 years. In this River to River program, Bystrom talks about her latest research, why so many women are running for office this year, and what this might mean for the future. Also joining the program is Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor with the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.

In light of the large number of women seeking office in all political parties, Bystrom says she sees this as a building block.

"One of the things that women sometimes do is that they run and then if they lose, they don't want to run again.  Men don't so that, and so we need to work with women to be sustained, because I think not only in 2018, but in 2020, and in 2022—which will be after a census year—there's going to be great opportunities for women to increase their representation."

Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor with the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication also joins the conversation.  We'll also hear a few audio clips from speeches that are archived at the Archives of Women's Political Communication.