Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts






Between 1921 and 1974, members of the Iowa Farm Bureau Women's Committee worded to better rural families and communities through education and political action. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the most popular organization in the state, maintained a strong membership, and advocated change only through education and legislation, not direct action. The Women's Committee played an important role in organization building and also in promoting leadership amongst rural women. Due in part to strong leaders and a close relationship with the Cooperative Extension Service, members of the women's committee established statewide leadership networks. Through these networks, farm women learned about such topics as nutrition, childcare, textiles and clothing, home management, school consolidation, politics, government, voting, international relations, and farm safety. The ultimate gaol of Farm Bureau women was to improve rural standards of living to be on par with urban families. Women's activities changed over time, however, and as they achieved better schools, roads, nutrition, health services, and other amenities, women began to embrace more abstract and intellectual political issues. Farm Bureau women also adjusted to changing social and cultural norms in the United States. In their writings and handbooks, they reacted to the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the social turmoil of the 1960s. This study emphasizes the idea that farm women acted in the interests of agriculture, thereby defending the interests of their class and occupational groupings. Though farm women's roles changed as technology altered their labor patterns, they retained their identities as farm wives and they continued to work for agricultural issues.


Copyright Owner

Jenny Barker Devine



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

126 pages

Included in

History Commons