Outdated Licensing is Holding Women Back

CONTACT: Kathryn Alford, Communications Manager

April 5, 2022


WASHINGTON, DC — Outdated occupational licensing rules are failing women in America. In states such as TennesseeMarylandOhioMissouri, and Maine, outdated licensing rules are making it difficult for part-time lawyers – many of whom are women – to remain in the workforce. Tennessee requires that lawyers be practicing full-time for five of the seven previous years to be admitted without examination. Most states provide a way for lawyers who pass the bar exam in one state to be licensed without having to take another bar exam. And most states don’t require full-time work.

Women comprise two-thirds of voluntary part-time workers. In 2016, about one in five working women worked part-time voluntarily. Around 30% of moms with children under 18 at home prefer part-time work. Additionally, women make up more than 70% of the 6.2% of lawyers who work part-time at law firms.

March marks Women’s History Month— a time for reflection on what women have achieved in the U.S. and what policy changes would benefit women.

“The difference between a lawyer practicing full-time and part-time is the number of hours he works, not his expertise, experience, or skill. Often the hours gap is small. It is time to think about a women’s agenda that gives women more opportunities to pursue the life they want to live. For many women, that means part-time work. States with a full-time work requirement should review their bar admission rules and remove the full-time work requirement for admittance without examination,” said Karin Lips, President of NeW.

The Network of enlightened Women, known as NeW, is dedicated to educating, equipping, and empowering conservative women about these policies that are impacting them across the country.

To find out more about this issue, read Qualified but Barred and Why making it easier to work part time helps women in the workforce, by Karin Lips.

For media interested in talking with Karin Lips about this or learning more about how outdated occupational licensing rules limit opportunities for women, please contact Kathryn Alford at media@enlightenedwomen.org or 571-310-5388.


The Network of Enlightened Women educates, equips, and empowers women to be principled leaders for a free society.



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