Boosting women’s labor force participation has been a focus of policymakers as the pandemic wanes. One challenge that hinders women and men from joining our labor force is excessive occupational licensure. Government credentials for employment exist in hundreds of occupations from florists to massage therapists to dog walkers. The requirements for education, training, and fees — which vary by industry and by state — can be a hurdle too high for workers to overcome. Instead, established businesses use licensure regulations as an advantage to reduce competition. 

Women are uniquely affected by occupational licensure. There’s consensus from the right and the left that we must reduce or remove excessive, burdensome licenses if we want to expand opportunities for all Americans. Exciting reforms have been happening in states across the country. We will explore some of these developments and the stories of individuals who have fought their state for the economic freedom to work.