The Women on the Bench

Most of my female role models growing up have been women that could be classified as pretty strong women and Sandra Day O’Connor was no exception. I can recall with great clarity sitting in my high school library my freshman year working on a report about the life of the first and only female Supreme Court justice. I sat there in a quiet corner, books spread out all over the table, and I took a deep breath.

Why? I asked myself. Why, was it so hard for her to find a job when she first began her career in law? Why, did it take so long for a woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court? And why was it that in 1990 O’Connor remained the one and only woman on the bench?

It was quite a frustrating idea but in my own optimistic way I ended my report predicting that we would see more women on the bench in the near future. Then a few years later, while I was still in high school, Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined O’Connor on the bench. I thought the tide would finally start to turn. But no. Ten years later O’Connor would retire, leaving the Supreme Court no different than it was before.

This week that finally changed as a new era began in the United States Supreme Court. For the first time ever three women began serving together on the bench.

Elena Kagan, beginning her first year as a Supreme Court Justice, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, beginning her second year on the court, joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to make three.

Be sure and take a moment this week to mark the occasion with your own daughter by reading a little bit about the three women Justices and letting her know that while three women on that bench is an amazing step for women, its still not enough. Maybe your daughter would like to be number four?

We here at SheHeroes congratulate all three women for setting an amazing example for girls everywhere and look forward to seeing number four.

And I am overjoyed at the fact that any high school girls doing a report on the Supreme Court today, will be writing  much different paper than I did.

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