Michigan Supreme Court highlights Women's History Month

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On March 1, the Michigan Supreme Court highlighted the beginning of Women’s History Month by noting that 38 percent of judges statewide are women. This compares to 34 percent in 2017 after the 2016 election and only 5 percent (26 judges) in 1979. Including appointments and the 2018 election, the number of female judges grew by 12.5 percent (200 to 225 judges) from 2017 to 2019—the biggest increase on record.

“Women in leadership positions are working together to solve problems,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “In the judiciary, our perspectives, life experiences, and skillsets help us focus on our core principles of independence, accessibility, engagement, and efficiency.”

Michigan is the only state in the nation with women serving in the top four leadership positions: Governor Gretchen Whitmer; Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; Attorney General Dana Nessel; and Chief Justice McCormack. Justice Elizabeth T. Clement and Justice Megan K. Cavanagh are also currently serving on the Michigan Supreme Court. McCormack is the 6th woman to serve as the chief justice.

In 2018, women judges in Michigan made history as all the leaders of the major judicial groups in Michigan were led by women for the first time (Michigan Judges Association, Michigan District Judges Association, Michigan Probate Judges Association, and the Judicial Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan). Also in 2018, women outnumbered men in law school for the third year in a row nationally, according to the American Bar Association.

Looking at women in other fields:

• 22 percent of C-Suite executives are women (McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2018)

• 23.7 percent of the U.S. Congress are women (Center for American Women & Politics at Rutgers University, CAWP)

• 35.8 percent of the Michigan Legislature are women (compared to 28.7 percent nationwide, CAWP)

To learn about the pioneering women on the Michigan Supreme Court, visit the Learning Center in the Michigan Hall of Justice and experience the “First Women on the Court” interactive exhibit.
 

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