The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Politics and the legal field have been dominated by men for decades; however, thanks to trailblazers, the field is becoming a little bit more inclusive.
These are a few of the women I look up to as an aspiring legal professional.
- Elle Woods
Yes, I am starting off the list with Elle Woods. Although fictional, I think Elle Woods portrays a side to women in law that is often hidden, perhaps even sacrificed. I have noticed that many women – whether it be in tech, science, or law fields – hide their femininity in hopes of fitting in, especially in a male-dominated space. But not Woods, she embraces her femininity even when others look at her like she doesn’t belong. It is admiring because a lot of people don’t do that given that it is much easier to try to fit in rather than be different, especially in a censorious environment like law school.
2. Shirley Chisholm
Taking her seat in 1969, Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman in Congress. In 1972, she also ran for President setting a precedent for both women and POC in the United States. Her campaign slogan was “Unbought and Unbossed” which was undeniably powerful. It is important to remember that voting was only a possibility for black women in 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Nonetheless, Chisholm was a trailblazer further pushing boundaries and advocating on the issues that others in the Democratic party failed to address – especially those concerning Blacks and the inner-city poor. I think she is highly underrated when discussing the first women in politics.
3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is another example of a strong woman. She came from humbling beginnings growing up, but also prioritized and understood the importance of education. She went to Harvard Law School while also having to juggle the responsibilities of being a mother and taking care of her husband who had cancer. She was the first female member of Harvard’s Law Review and constantly battled gender-based discrimination in the classroom. In the workplace, despite having stellar accomplishments, Ginsburg took a lower salary than her male counterparts. In 1993, Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court. She is truly a force to be reckoned with, facing numerous accounts of gender-based discrimination and still accomplishing so much.
4. Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor is the third woman and the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court in history. She faced hardships growing up, especially after the death of their father at the age of 9. Her mother worked overtime to send her to private school where she graduated valedictorian and continued her studies at Princeton University on scholarship, and she later attended Yale Law. She established herself as an imposing prosecutor, even though she was young. On the Supreme Court, she advocates for women’s rights and same-sex marriage. She is a powerful woman and an excellent example of strong women in law.
5. Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama was the former first lady of the United States; but she is also a lawyer and writer. As first lady, she was able to make strides for higher education, especially for international adolescent girls. Growing up, she watched her father not give into multiple sclerosis while working to save money for her college. She attended Harvard Law School, later becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young people for public service; this work is also seen in her work as first lady. She is another great example of a strong woman in law.
Obviously, there are so many women in law/politics that are strong and made incredible strides. It is difficult to thrive in male dominated areas such as law, but the women above prove that it is possible despite not always having the easiest circumstances.