Women’s History Month 2024

We celebrate Women’s History Month by acknowledging some remarkable female figures who have made significant contributions to the field of law:

Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-2023): The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, O’Connor paved the way for future generations of female jurists. Her impact extends beyond her role as a justice, as she also championed women’s rights and equality.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020): The second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg achieved greatness when the legal profession was dominated almost entirely by men. Her legacy includes groundbreaking work on gender equality and women’s rights.

Janet Wood Reno (1938-2016): As the first female Attorney General of the United States, Reno had a life filled with “firsts.” She played a crucial role in shaping legal policies and advocating for justice during her tenure.

Judith Sheindlin (Judge Judy, 1942 to Present): Known as a household name, Judge Judy has been a trailblazer in the legal world. Her television show, which ran for 25 seasons, has made her a recognizable figure, but her legal career and advocacy for justice are equally noteworthy. She is an American court-show arbitrator, media personality, television producer, philanthropist, and former prosecutor and Manhattan family court judge.

Arabella Mansfield: Considered the first female lawyer in the United States, Mansfield passed the Iowa state bar exam in 1869 without formal legal education. She went on to become a teacher and a leader in the Iowa suffragette movement.

Belva Lockwood became the first woman admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court on March 3, 1879. The following year, she became the first woman to argue a case before the Justices. In the 19th century, women struggled against professional and societal barriers that largely prevented them from working in the legal field. Click to read more.

The women listed below were not lawyers but played an important role in the women’s suffrage movement. The 19th Constitutional Amendment granting Women’s Right to Vote was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902): Author, lecturer, and chief philosopher of the woman’s rights and suffrage movements, Ms. Stanton formulated the agenda for woman’s rights that guided the struggle well into the 20th century.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906): Champion of temperance, abolition, the rights of labor, and equal pay for equal work, Susan Brownell Anthony became one of the most visible leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. Along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she traveled around the country delivering speeches in favor of women’s suffrage.

Other women who made major contributions to women’s history include Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Grace Hopper, Amelia Earhart, and others too numerous to mention here.

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Law firm marketing consultant Margaret Grisdela, president of Legal Expert Connections, Inc.

Margaret Grisdela

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