Cristine Swanson Wilson

Honored by:Margaret Swanson
Brick location:D:6  map

Without the innovative spirit and hard work of Cristine Swanson Wilson, there may not have been an Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. Wilson served on temporary governor's commissions on women that evolved into the Iowa commission on the Status of Women in 1972, the first permanent state agency for women's concerns. As its first chair, Wilson fought for passage of anti-discriminatory laws in housing, credit, education, employment and insurance; recognition of homemakers' contributions in inheritance tax determination; a model progressive rape statute; provision for state funding and licensing of childcare centers; creation of a process by which more women could be appointed to state boards and commissions; and creation of the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. As a women's movement pioneer, Wilson helped to found the Iowa Women's Political Caucus and served as the first women chair of the Polk County Republican Platform committee. Her remarkable achievements have contributed to Iowa's recognition nationally as a state characterized by equality and justice. In 1982, the Commission established a Medal for Equality and Justice in her name which is awarded to Iowans whose life and work illustrate such service and dedication. Christine has received a special alumni award from her college, Grinnell. She also had been installed in the Hall of Fame of her junior high school, Warren Harding, and her high school, North High, both in Des Moines. Injured in May of 1977 in an automobile accident at the age of 31, she remained in a vegetative state until her death more than 14 years later in October 1991.