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Women Comprise Nearly Half of Law School Students

The number of women in law school has risen dramatically in the last 30 yearsÑfrom 8 percent in 1970, to 49.4 percent in the fall of 2000, and as of March 2001, the number of women applying to law schools surpassed men. In the country’s most selective law schools, including Yale, Columbia and New York University, women have already passed the 50 percent mark. As the number of women with law degree increases, women will be able to move into upper-level, higher-power positions in business and politics and the justice system. However, the glass ceiling in law persists. In New York, 41 percent of law firm associates are women but only 14 percent of law firm partners are women.

Women are approaching equality in law school some 30 years after the passage of Title IX, an amendment to the Educational Act of 1972 initiated by Rep. Edith Green (D-OR), which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs and after years of federally guaranteed loan programs which finance most law school students. In the 1970s, the women’s movement opened the doors of law schools for women by suing under Title IX every law school in the country.

Sources:

Feminist Majority Foundation; New York Times Ð March 26, 2001