Read CHAPTER XI of Legal Status Of Women In Iowa, free online book, by Jennie Lansley Wilson, on


Every wife, child, parent, guardian, employer or other person who shall be injured in person or property or means of support, by any intoxicated person, or in consequence of the intoxication habitual or otherwise, of any person, shall have a right of action in his or her name, against any person, who shall, by selling intoxicating liquors, cause the intoxication of such person, for all damages actually sustained, as well as exemplary damages; and a married woman shall have the same right to bring suits, prosecute and control the same, and the amount recovered, as if a single woman, and all damages recovered by a minor under this action, shall be paid to such minor, or his parent, guardian, or next friend, as the court shall direct, and all suits for damages under this section shall be by civil action in any court having jurisdiction thereof. [Se.] Under this section a woman is entitled to recover for the death of her husband, or for personal injuries to him, or to herself caused by intoxication. She may recover damages for mental anguish, shame, or suffering, resulting from injuries to the person, and for injuries to, or loss of property, and means of support.

An unmarried female may prosecute as plaintiff, an action for her own seduction and recover such damages as may be found in her favor. [Se.] In a civil action for damages it is not necessary that an unmarried woman be of previously chaste character to enable her to recover for loss of health, physical suffering, etc., but without that she cannot recover for loss of character.

A father, or in case of his death, or imprisonment, or desertion of his family, the mother may prosecute as plaintiff, an action for the expenses and actual loss of service resulting from the injury or death of a minor child. [Se.]

A married woman may, in all cases, sue and be sued without joining her husband with her, to the same extent as if she were unmarried, and an attachment or judgment in such action shall be enforced by or against her as if she were a single woman. [Se.]

If husband or wife are sued together, the wife may defend for her own right; and if either neglect to defend, the other may defend for that one also. [Se.]

When a husband has deserted his family, the wife may prosecute or defend in his name any action which he might have prosecuted or defended, and shall have the same powers and rights therein as he might have had; and under like circumstances the same right shall apply to the husband upon the desertion of the wife. [Se.]

Neither the husband nor wife shall in any case, be a witness against the other, except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committed one against the other, or in a civil action or proceeding one against the other; but they may in all civil and criminal cases, be witness for each other. [Se.] In prosecutions for adultery or bigamy the husband or wife, as the case may be, is a competent witness against the other.

Neither husband nor wife can be examined in any case as to any communication made by one to the other while married, nor shall they after the marriage relation ceases, be permitted to reveal in testimony any such communication made while the marriage subsisted. [Se.]

Women are eligible to all school offices in the state, including those of county superintendent and school director. [Sec.Se, 2829.]

No person shall be disqualified for holding the office of county recorder on account of sex. [Se.]

Mayors of all cities having a population of twenty-five thousand or more, are authorized, by act of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly to appoint police matrons to take charge of all women and children confined at police stations. They are to search the persons of such women and children, accompany them to court, and “give them such comfort as may be in their power.” No woman is eligible to this office who is under thirty years of age. She must be of good moral character, and sound physical health. Her application must be endorsed by at least ten women of good standing and residents of the city in which such appointment is made. When appointed she shall hold office until removed by death, resignation or discharge, but she can be dismissed only after charges have been made against her conduct and such charges have been investigated. She has the right to enter work houses where women are confined, at all times. She shall be subject to the board of police or to the chief of police. Her salary shall not be less than the minimum paid to patrolmen.

In any election hereafter held in any city, incorporated town, or school district, for the purpose of issuing any bonds for municipal or school purposes, or for the purpose of borrowing money, or for the purpose of increasing the tax levy, the right of any citizen to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex, and women may vote at such elections, the same as men, under the same qualifications and restrictions. [Act of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly.]