Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 6

FROM OUR PRESIDENT

When There Are Nine
"When there are nine," calmly answered the Notorious RBG in her velvet-soft voice. The packed auditorium
roared with nervous laughter as men and women processed her response to the question, "When will there
be enough women on the Supreme Court?"
Knowingly, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained after the laughter and applause subsided: "There'd
been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that." It was all men on the Court for 191 years.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor shattered that barrier in 1981 as the first-ever female to serve on the nation's
highest court.
Harvard Law School took 186 years to welcome its first female dean in 2003 - Elena Kagan. She continued
to blaze the trail for women by becoming the first female solicitor general of the United States in 2009 and
the fourth female justice of the Supreme Court in 2010.

Connect
with Esther:
elim@dcbar.org

Obstacles to the advancement of women also persist outside the law. It took the Metropolitan Opera 125
years before it had a woman solo headline an opening-night gala. Renée Fleming attained that distinction
in 2008.
Given that backdrop, Marie Curie's winning of the Nobel Prize in 1903 - in the third year of the Nobel Prizes
- is simply stunning. She went on to set another record in 1911 - still unmatched today - as the only
female to win multiple Nobel Prizes.

"Biases and stereotypes
still remain significant
hurdles for the professional
advancement of women."
NOTES
1 "A Current Glance at Women in the Law, January
2018," available at americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/
administrative/women/a-current-glance-at-women-inthe-law-jan-2018.pdf.

Despite the steady breakdown of barriers by remarkable women in the law, in the arts, and in the sciences,
traditional notions of women's roles in the home and beyond have yet to disappear. Biases and stereotypes
still remain significant hurdles for the professional advancement of women.
Take law, for example. Although women now enter the legal profession in numbers equal to men, women
make up only 19 percent of equity partners.1 For women of color, that number drops precipitously to 3
percent.2 Three reasons contribute to the high attrition of women attorneys: work-life balance, unconscious
bias, and the pay gap.
Full-time women workers earn 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, resulting in a gender wage gap of
20 percent.3 That holds true for lawyers.4 If change continues at the same pace as in the last 50 years,
women won't reach pay parity until 2059 - almost 140 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment
guaranteeing women's right to vote. Make that 2119 for black women and 2224 for Hispanic women.
Unimaginable.

2 "Few Women Lead Law Firms, But There Are More
Female Equity Partners, Report Says," ABA Journal (May
30, 2018), available at abajournal.com/news/article/
few_women_lead_law_firms_but_when_they_do_
there_are_more_female_equity_part.

As we commemorate Women's History Month, let us remember the courageous women of the past who
dared to challenge the status quo and advocate for women's rights. Let us recognize the brave women of
the future who will continue to weave the fabric of justice and equality. Let us salute all the heroes who
contribute to achieving gender equality. My father is one such hero. He defied cultural and societal norms
and instilled in me from a young age the firm belief that I could be anyone I dared to be, even a lawyer.
Gender, race, or poverty had no place in his dreams.

3 "Pay Equity & Discrimination," Institute for Women's
Policy Research, available at iwpr.org/issue/
employment-education-economic-change/pay-equitydiscrimination.

In our generation, we may witness the first female president of the United States. As Margaret Thatcher said,
"Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the
problems of running a country."

4 "Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and
Salary Workers by Detailed Occupation and Sex," Bureau
of Labor Statistics, available at bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf.

Photo: Patrice Gilbert Photography

6

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MARCH 2019

*

In our children's generation, will they witness an all-female Supreme Court? If not, will they at least witness a
country in which the Notorious RBG's iconoclastic response won't seem so far-fetched? Until then, women
will continue to march forward with small feet and big strides toward a day "[w]hen there are nine."


http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/women/a-current-glance-at-women-in-the-law-jan-2018.pdf http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/women/a-current-glance-at-women-in-the-law-jan-2018.pdf http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/few_women_lead_law_firms_but_when_they_do_there_are_more_female_equity_part http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/few_women_lead_law_firms_but_when_they_do_there_are_more_female_equity_part http://www.iwpr.org/issue/employment-education-economic-change/pay-equity-discrimination http://www.iwpr.org/issue/employment-education-economic-change/pay-equity-discrimination http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf http://www.dcbar.org/

Washington Lawyer - March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
The Women's Wave & Its Effects on Politics
Features: #Me Too & A Time Of Reckoning for the Law
Feature: Righting The Gender Imbalance In Big Law
Feature: A Day in The Life of Two Women Lawyers
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Efect
Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - The Women's Wave & Its Effects on Politics
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Features: #Me Too & A Time Of Reckoning for the Law
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Feature: Righting The Gender Imbalance In Big Law
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Feature: A Day in The Life of Two Women Lawyers
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 42
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - The Pro Bono Efect
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 48
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Cover4
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