Equity Awards

As 50-50 in 2020 continues to make progress toward our goals, we celebrate women across the state of Iowa who have helped pave the way for those that follow them.

The Equity for Women Award is given annually to recognize a woman who has:

  • Made significant and enduring contributions to her field of endeavor.
  • Impacted the well-being of the community, state or nation in her field.
  • Elevated the status of women and positively impacted women and girls.
  • Helped open new frontiers for women and society in general.
  • Inspired others by her example.

Past recipients:

    • 2012 – Linda K. Neuman
      The first woman to be appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court, Linda K. Newman, was recipient of the first 50-50 in 2020 Equity for Women Award, presented in 2012.
      Neuman, who served on the Iowa Supreme Court from 1986 until her retirement in 2003, practiced law for six years prior to her appointment by Governor Terry Branstad. After retiring, Neuman returned to her home town of LeClaire, Iowa, where she resumed private practice while an adjunct professor in the University of Iowa College of Law.In addition to serving on a number of non-profit and corporate boards of directors, Neuman agreed to serve in the position of co-chair of the 50-50 in 2020 Advisory Council, comprised of influential Iowans committed to creating gender equity in the Iowa statehouse and congressional delegation.
    • 2013 – Katharine Jefferts Schori
      The second woman selected to receive 50-50 in 2020’s annual Equity for Women Award, presented in 2013, was The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to be elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.Jefferts Schori, the 26th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, was the first woman to be elected primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Previously bishop of Nevada, her election made her chief pastor to the Episcopal Church’s 2.4 million members in 16 countries and 110 dioceses, one of 39 Anglican Provinces worldwide.She was invested at Washington National Cathedral in November of 2006 and later was appointed by President Obama to his Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership, with a focus on ending human trafficking.
    • 2014 – Christine H.B. Grant
      The University of Iowa’s first women’s athletics director and a pioneer in intercollegiate athletics who championed Title IX, Christine H.B. Grant was the 2014 recipient of 50-50 in 2020’s Equity for Women Award.Grant, who served as the university’s women’s athletics director from 1973 to 2000, was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educator in America by the Institute of International Sports, based in part on her work to create Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in schools receiving federal funding.After retiring from the University of Iowa, Grant continued to work for women’s equality by serving on the 50-50 in 2020 Advisory Council, the group of influential Iowans who assist the organization’s board of directors in identifying and encouraging Iowa’s prospective women lawmakers.
    • 2015 – Bonnie Campbell
      Des Moines attorney Bonnie Campbell, the only woman to be elected Iowa’s attorney general, was recipient of the fourth annual 50-50 in 2020 Equity for Women Award in 2015. In her acceptance speech, Campbell, who worked on women’s human rights issues in the Clinton Administration after serving as attorney general, encouraged her audience to “cross political divides to find solutions” to violent and unjust situations that plague women in our society.“I think women can find a way to get to the right answers,” Campbell said.After serving as Iowa attorney general from 1990-1994, Campbell was selected by President Bill Clinton to head the U.S. Justice Department’s newly-created Office on Violence Against Women, managing a $1.6 billion program.


    • 2016 – Sr. Catherine Dunn
      A Catholic nun who led Dubuque’s Clarke University in rebuilding after a devastating fire, Sr. Catherine Dunn in 2016 received 50-50 in 2020’s Equity for Women Award.The award was created to honor women who make significant contributions to equity for women and have served as mentors and role models for others.Dunn not only drew recognition for leading Clarke but she served as the first woman to chair the Iowa Transportation Commission, helped establish her city’s Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, and in 2005 received the Vatican’s Papal Medal for outstanding service to the church and education community.A woman who has distinguished herself in areas of religion, education, business and government, Dunn was honored as “a perfect example of women’s ability to multi-task.”


      • 2017 – Judy Bradshaw, Director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
        Judy’s journey toward becoming the second woman to lead Iowa’s vital training program for law enforcement personnel is filled with evidence of ability and determination as she spent decades proving her capability, first as a Des Moines police officer, then as the department’s first female lieutenant, captain, major and finally, the city’s first female police chief from 2007-2014. She retired as chief in 2014 and then immediately accepted the position of the Academy’s assistant director, before Gov. Terry Branstad appointed her director less than a year later.As director of the Law Enforcement Academy, Judy continues to be an inventive force for better police training in our state, demonstrating her ability to get the job done as she works for safer communities for all Iowans.


    • 2018 – Diane Ramsey, Co-founder of Iowa Women Lead Change and CEO of The Awakened Woman LLC
      Diane is co-founder and former chief Executive officer of Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC), Iowa’s premier leadership organization for women, and current co-chair of the public private partnership, EPIC Corporate Challenge, a statewide initiative to develop and advance women at all levels of leadership. Under Ms. Ramsey’s stewardship, IWLC was incorporated, gained 501(C)(3) status and grew from a once a year event to a statewide organization that is
      dedicated to the advancement, development and promotion of women, their organizations and to impacting the regional economy.She has recently joined Dr. Tererai Trent, Oprah’s all-time favorite guest, as CEO of The Awakened Woman LLC, an organization based on the work and teachings of Dr. Trent.