Statement of the New York City Bar Association Marking 2020 International Women’s Day

Today, the New York City Bar Association joins the world in marking International Women’s Day.

We have much to celebrate this year. There have been major strides in the #MeToo movement. On August 18, we will mark the Centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote for the first time. In addition, there is renewed momentum behind the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”). And, worldwide, we are marking “Beijing + 25” – the 25th anniversary of the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995, where then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton famously proclaimed that “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”

While we have much to celebrate, there is also much that remains to be done. For example, renowned international human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been detained since June 2018, held with other human rights lawyers and rights defenders imprisoned in Iran for their peaceful actions protesting the requirement that women wear headscarves (hijab). Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, acclaimed women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul and others who fought for women’s right to drive have been imprisoned since May 2018.   

As the New York City Bar celebrates International Women’s Day 2020 and the many advances that have been made, we look to the spirit of the U.N. Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and pay tribute to women’s rights activists around the globe – men, as well as women – who are working every day to make gender equality a reality worldwide and whose vision is an inspiration to us all.