Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1967

Abstract

IN 1869 Belle A. Mansfield, reputedly the first female lawyer admitted to practice in the United States, was admitted to the state bar of Iowa. Others soon followed her and this dribble of women entering the legal profession has grown to a persistent and continuous trickle in the twentieth century, but it shows no signs of becoming a flood. At last count approximately 7,000 out of America's 300,000 listed lawyers were women. Since the practice of law-even in the most masculine and aggressive Perry Mason style-does not require a strong back, large muscles, or any of the other peculiarly male characteristics, one might ask why women account for less than three per cent of all lawyers. That question is only part of a larger and equally puzzling inquiry about the status of women in medicine, engineering, business, and government, but this study cannot hope to answer the larger question and does not endeavor to do so; rather, its purpose is to investigate a ten-year segment of the small female contingent in the American bar.


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