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March 08, 2024

Statement of ABA President Mary Smith RE: International Women’s Day

CHICAGO, March 8, 2024 — Today, the American Bar Association proudly stands with the global community in marking International Women’s Day, honoring the invaluable contributions of women and girls everywhere and amplifying our collective call for gender equality. This year’s theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing journey to ensure women’s full and equal participation in every sector, including the legal field.

Women now make up more than 50% of law firm associates, according to the National Association of Law Placement. This milestone is a testament to the progress being made towards gender equality within the profession, reflecting our shared commitment to fostering a truly inclusive legal community.

Women also are a majority among law school students in the United States, representing 55.7% of the cohort in 2022, as reported by the ABA National Lawyer Population Survey. Yet, despite making up 39% of all lawyers in 2023, women are significantly underrepresented in senior leadership positions at U.S. law firms, holding far less than half of these roles. Although there has been a gradual increase in recent years, this disparity underscores the need for sustained efforts to bridge the gender gap.

The ABA is deeply committed to championing gender equality, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. The Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) program, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, is a prime initiative for advancing the status of women and girls worldwide. Led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative with key partners, WAGE focuses on improving responses to gender-based violence, advancing the women, peace and security agenda and supporting women’s economic empowerment. This global consortium works to enhance the capacity of civil society and the private sector to equip women and girls with the necessary resources and support for active participation in the economy and public life. We are proud that WAGE is making strides in fostering gender equality and empowerment in diverse communities around the world.

Our dedication to inclusivity strengthens not just the legal sector but also empowers our broader societal, economic and global structures. This International Women’s Day, let us renew our dedication to advancing gender equality. Together, we can catalyze meaningful change toward a future marked by greater inclusivity and equity for all.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. 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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.