Women’s History Month – Is there Equality in the Courts?

Women Justices
Four of the 112 Supreme Court Justices in history have been women. Trial lawyer Doug Landau of the Herndon firm Abrams Landau, Ltd. congratulates these role models and looks forward to a day when there is even more equality for women in the field of law.

We all know we would not be here without our mothers, and “Mother Earth” and “Mother Nature” are referred to without much thought to the many concrete contributions of women throughout history.  The month of March commemorates noteworthy women and how they positively changed the world throughout history.  From Maya Angelou to Amelia Earheart, women’s achievements are celebrated during this month.

Even though many women have helped society through aviation, science, the written word and civil rights, women still have a long way to go in male-dominated fields such as the law.  In the United States, where females are half the population, there are 4,521 women state court judges out of 17,108 total judges. One quarter of the judges is not reflective of the national population and with law schools nearing parity, is a number that cannot be justified in a civil society. Here are some other facts for the Commonwealth of Virginia:

  • All judges in Virginia: 1/5 of all judges are women (88 out of a total of 446 judges)
  • State Limited and Special Jurisdiction Courts: 60 women out of a total of 234
  • State General Jurisdiction Courts: 20 women out of a total of 148 (1 out of every 7)

On the Supreme Court of Virginia there are currently 3 women serving out of the 9 Supreme Court justices, and out of the 112 justices that have served in history only 4 of them are women. Based on these statistics, women are in the minority. Fortunately, as times progress, there has been an increase of women in the field of law compared to the era before Sandra Day O’Connor becoming the first female Justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. More recently, Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic female to become a Justice of our highest court as well.

These women, along with many others, have made significant contributions to history and deserve to be recognized. Congratulations ladies!



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