As we celebrate Women’s History Month, one of the tremendous stories of progress among women is their workforce gains. Just check out these 10 amazing stats.

However, challenges persist for women to exercise their freedom to work when, where, and how they choose and the government is the culprit.

Well-intentioned but ill-advised government regulations can backfire on women’s choices over their time and talent.

Thankfully, there are solutions to right-size the role of government to expand, instead of restricting, opportunity and mobility for women of all ages and situations.

Check out these 5 ways to boost worker freedom for women:

  1. Fight Degree Inflation by Axing College Degree Requirements. Eliminating degree requirements pushes employers to take a skills-based approach to hiring. Across the federal workforce and state workforces, legislative bodies and executives should implement assessments of all job positions and eliminate college degree requirements that are not germane to the jobs. Close to a dozen states have eliminated degree requirements for state jobs, but many more states should follow.
  2. Remove Excessive Occupational Licensing. Think of hair braiders, makeup artists, eyebrow threaders, interior designers, etc. States should evaluate existing licensing and fee practices and eliminate all that fail to advance legitimate public safety or quality concerns. For workers who frequently move, such as military spouses, states should consider ways to expedite licenses or transfer the licenses of those who are in good standing in other states. Reciprocity laws and state compacts allow licensees to practice across state lines and improve mobility. 
  3. Protect Independent Contracting. Freelancers, self-employed people, gig workers, small business owners, and people with side hustles depend on flexible work through independent contracting. Protect independent contracting from standalone forced reclassification efforts through regulations or new laws (such as California’s AB5). Federal regulators should embrace the 2021 Trump-era Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act final rule. Secondly, policymakers should pursue proposals to codify independent contracting into law—such as the Employee Rights Act—which would offer flexible workers added protections against agency rulemaking or executive orders that would strip them of their independent status.
  4. Eliminate Unnecessary Childcare Regulations. Childcare is a costly hurdle for many families. It keeps some women from working. Rather than imposing new regulations on childcare services and relationships, policymakers at all levels of government should seek to eliminate regulations that are not directly related to safety and true quality so that a greater diversity of providers—especially smaller and at-home providers—can enter the marketplace to give parents more and better options. 
  5. Reduce Regulatory Burden on Small Businesses. Congress should consider reducing the regulatory burdens placed on small businesses. Work with Congress to make the financial security of women stronger by unleashing domestic energy supplies, cutting the red tape that burdens small businesses, and reining in out-of-control federal regulators. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the one agency of government devoted to the preservation of our nation’s small businesses and would benefit from greater oversight to ensure it is working toward goals that support small businesses.

To learn more about these ideas, read our Working for Women 3.0 report.