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5 Things Worth Celebrating on Women's Day 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 10: Christen Press #23 of the U.S. woman's national soccer team and Tobin Heath #17 react after a goal during the second half against the Costa Rica woman's national soccer team at TIAA Bank Field on November 10,2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
By Kellie Pantekoek, Esq. on March 06, 2020 12:08 PM

March 8 is International Women's Day, a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, political, and legal achievements of women around the world. The day is also a time to raise awareness for promoting women's equality.

We at FindLaw recognize International Women's Day by taking a look at some of the biggest achievements made by women in 2019, as well as some of the most important efforts that were made to promote gender equality.

The U.S. Women's Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay

In 2019, the U.S. women's soccer team took a stand for pay equality when they filed a gender discrimination lawsuit before going on to win their fourth Women's World Cup title. The lawsuit demands that the women's team receive pay and working conditions equal to the U.S. men's soccer team.

The judge presiding over the discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer approved the players' request for class-action status in November 2019 and a trial is currently set for May 2020.

More Companies Hired Board Members Who Are Women

Under a controversial 2018 law, every public company in California was required to have at least one female director by the end of 2019 in effort to compel corporate board diversity.

A nonprofit advocacy group called 2020 Women on Boards, which tracks female board-membership at 3,000 of the biggest publicly-held companies in the U.S., found there were 183 seats newly-held by women at California companies at the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Only 36 of California's 445 top 3,000 companies in California had not yet showed compliance, and they technically have until 150 days after the end of the fiscal year to do so.

Women Led All Law Journals at Top U.S. Law Schools

In 2019, the law journals at the top 16 law schools in the U.S. all had a female editor-in-chief, for the first time ever. The editors and contributing female editors collaborated to publish Women & Law, which celebrates how far women have come but also acknowledges how much progress is still needed.

It is safe to say that leadership within the legal field is still dominated by men in the U.S. — men hold far more leadership positions in law firms, the federal courts, and law schools, and there have only been four women in total who have been appointed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Additionally, globally, male partners at law firms are paid 27% more than female partners.

A State Legislature Had a Female Majority for First Time

For the first time ever, a U.S. state had a legislature with more women than men in 2019. In Nevada, women held 51% of the seats in December 2018. At the end of the legislative session, political commentators said the legislature got a lot done.

Though this shows progress and is a significant milestone, a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University pointed out that women hold less than 30% of state legislative seats throughout the county, and less than 25% of seats in U.S. Congress.

Women, Young People in Sudan Protested for Change

In April 2019, thousands of women, students, and young people in Sudan protested the declining economic state of their country. The demonstrations helped lead to the arrest of Sudan's president.

A woman who became the face of the movement when her photo standing on top of a car protesting went viral, was invited to speak in front of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security on behalf of all Sudanese women.

The activist, Alaa Salah, called on the international assembly to make sure that women and other minorities hold a meaningful role in the transition process in Sudan moving forward. When asked to summarize what the women and young protesters want, Salah said: "Freedom, peace, and justice."

For more defining moments for women in 2019, check out this piece written by UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and women's empowerment.

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