The Iowa House today approved two bills to end wage discrimination in the workplace and encourage more women to serve on local boards.

“We live in a state where women made about 78 cents for every dollar men made in 2007 and our state ranks 37th among all states for gender wage equity,” said State Representative Vicki Lensing of Iowa City. “This law will send a positive message to all current and potential Iowans that we are a welcoming state to men and women, racial and cultural minorities and people with disabilities.”

Senate File 137 adds pay discrimination to Iowa’s Civil Rights Code. If Iowans perform jobs that require equal skills, effort and responsibility and are performed under the same working conditions, employers are prohibited from paying them lower wages. The bill covers businesses with four or more employees.

The House also approved House File 243 to encourage more women to serve on local government boards and commissions by requiring gender balance, just as state government has done since 1987.

“Women make up over 50 percent of the population of Iowa, but make up only 18 percent of local government boards and commissions. It is time for local governments to double their efforts and ask women to serve their community,” said State Representative Mary Mascher, who managed the bill in the House.

The bills now go to the Senate.