Minnesota Women Lawyers Releases Gender Data Report

At the May 2015 MWL Conference for Women in the Law, Minnesota Women Lawyers was pleased to release its “Gender Data Project: First Report.”  This report is the result of a multi-year initiative led by MWL’s Parity Committee, which commissioned a first-of-its-kind count of the number of women in the Minnesota legal profession by conducting a name classification analysis of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s lawyer registration data.

In addressing gender inequities in the legal profession and working to change them, MWL was discouraged by the lack of demographic data related to women in Minnesota’s legal profession.  This obstacle moved to the forefront in 2010 when then-MWL President Judge Elizabeth Cutter initiated the MWL Parity Taskforce to examine the current position of women lawyers in Minnesota.  The Parity Taskforce quickly determined that a thorough examination of the status of Minnesota’s women lawyers could not be accomplished without comprehensive demographic data.  To that end, MWL set out to determine the best means for attaining such data.

In presenting this report, MWL’s Gender Data Project: First Report offers, for the first time, a bottom-line number of women attorneys registered in Minnesota.  The report also highlights the background, methodology, limitations and results of the research study.  The complete First Report and a brief highlight video are available on Minnesota Women Lawyer’s website (http://www.mwlawyers.org/?page=Parity).

MWL recognizes that its Gender Data Project is an important step in the effort to clarify the status of women in Minnesota’s legal profession.  Additionally, MWL advocates for the collection of further demographic data on the Minnesota attorney registration form, including sexual orientation, and disability.  The Minnesota Lawyer Registration Office is in a unique position to collect and provide the most comprehensive data on the status of all attorneys registered in Minnesota.  Should additional demographic data become available, future research will provide an important opportunity to examine the current demographic position of Minnesota attorneys, and identify trends towards parity for all women lawyers, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, or gender identification. 

Minnesota Women Lawyers is an association of nearly 1,300 attorneys, judges, law students, legal employers, and others who are dedicated to advancing the success of women attorneys and striving for a just society.   Visit our website at www.mwlawyers.org.

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