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Women's History Month 2018
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March is National Women's History Month

By Suntrease Williams Maynard


In 1987, the United States Congress designated March as National Women’s History Month. This creates a special opportunity in our schools, our workplaces and our communities to recognize and celebrate the often-overlooked achievements of American women.


Each year there is a special theme to highlight these celebrations. This year's theme is, Nevertheless She Persisted:  Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The theme embodies women working together with strength, tenacity and courage to overcome obstacles and achieve joyful accomplishments. Throughout this year, fifteen women will be honored for their unrelenting and inspirational persistence, and for understanding that, by fighting all forms of discrimination against women and girls, they have shaped America’s history and our future. Out of the fifteen, three attorneys made the list.


Attorney Saru Jayaraman responded to the 9/11 tragedy by organizing displaced World Trade Center workers and co-founding Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United. A national labor leader and researcher, she helps restaurant workers mobilize with employers and consumers for better wages and working conditions through policy change, workplace justice campaigns, cooperatively-owned restaurants, and more. ROC United is a leader in the ONE FAIR WAGE Campaign to end the two-tiered minimum wage system. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers remains only $2.13 per hour. Seven states, including California, have one minimum wage; ROC has demonstrated that these seven states are faring better than the 43 with lower wages for tipped workers. Jayaraman is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Arlene B. Mayerson has been Directing Attorney of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund since 1981. For over 35 years Arlene Mayerson has been a leading attorney in disability rights law, including playing a key role in drafting and negotiating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), litigating precedent setting disability rights cases and teaching disability rights law. Mayerson was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to the Civil Rights Reviewing Authority, responsible for reviewing the civil rights decisions of the department. She is a John and Elizabeth Boalt lecturer in disability law at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall), and serves on the Advisory Committee of The Impact Fund.

Pauli Murray
(1910-1985was a civil rights and women’s rights activist decades ahead of her time. Facing lifelong discrimination based on her race and sex, she persisted and become an accomplished attorney, author, activist, academic, and spiritual leader. She was extremely bright as a child, she finished first in her class at Howard Law School where she was the only female student. Despite her academic prowess, she was denied admission to UNC graduate school in 1938 due to her race and denied a fellowship to Harvard Law in 1944 due to her sex. She went on to be the first African-American awarded a law doctorate from Yale (1965) and later became the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest (1977).

Like these great women, we have had many women attorneys throughout our nation serving in both the NCBP and the ABA to have help achieve equality in the practice of law. We are thankful for their dedication, commitment and service.