March is Women’s History Month – a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. This made me wonder, who were the first female attorneys in the U.S. and Connecticut. Drum roll please...
Arabella Mansfield became the first female lawyer in the United States in 1869 when she was admitted to the Iowa bar. She never practiced law, but instead was a college educator and administrator.
Mary Hall became the first female attorney in Connecticut in 1882, and she practiced for 40 years in wills and property rights. Interestingly when she first started women did not yet have the right to vote – that came in 1920!
Today, women dominate the U.S. residential real estate industry, with 65 percent of all realtors being female, according to the National Association of Realtors. But this wasn't always the case. When the NAR was formed in 1908, its membership was entirely male, despite 3,000 women working as brokers nationally. You can read more about the interesting history of how women pushed for equality in the industry here.
Despite all the progress that's been made in the fight for equality, there is still some work to be done. According to the NAR, despite making up the majority of the workforce, women are still less represented in leadership and executive roles.
So let this year's Women's History Month be an opportunity to celebrate the progress and pioneers of the past and also look forward to further progress.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” Amy Rees Anderson