President Robinson Statement about Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26
CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2011 – In 1971, Congress designated Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day. The day recognizes the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, and calls attention to continuing efforts toward full equality for women.
The American Bar Association recognizes that equality for women is a work in progress. We will continue to advocate for women’s rights in the United States and abroad. We will fight to eliminate violence against women, advance workplace equality and promote other issues crucial to achieving gender equality. The ABA is proud to recognize this important day — doing so reflects our commitment to equal justice under law and the crucial contributions of lawyers in shaping the law and jurisprudence of gender equality.
In the last year, we have placed more women in leadership positions. A full 35 percent of the ABA’s Board of Governors is now women, compared with 29 percent in 2009-2010. The House of Delegates includes 31 percent women, up from 28 percent in 2009-2010. Female representation among our section and division chairs rose from 32 percent to 39 percent in the same time period.
The ABA also has several initiatives for women lawyers and law students. Our Women of Color Research Initiative examines advancement and retention for women of color in the profession. Our Women in Law Leadership Academy focuses on career and legal skills development. Our partnership with the women law student organization, Ms. JD, mentors future women leaders.
However, Women’s Equality Day also underscores the ongoing need to foster the full participation of women in the legal profession. Women account for only 31 percent of the U.S. lawyer population and 19 percent of law firm partners. Only 19 percent of Fortune 500 general counsel, and 16 percent of Fortune 501-1,000 general counsel are women. Women represent just two percent of law school deans and 26 percent of state and federal judges.
We can do better. The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession will advance workplace policies and provide resources to harness the talents and energy of women who are or who want to become lawyers. We will continue to open doors and break down barriers.
To ensure equal justice for all, we must ensure that all people, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to participate fully at all levels of the legal profession.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
Media contact: Ira Pilchen (312-988-5743 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please click here for a biography and photo of Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, president of the American Bar Association.