By Kim Lyons Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Democratic political analyst Donna Brazile said great strides have been made, although the legal profession still has a long way to go before women and men are equal in the workplace.
Still, she said, it is ahead of many other sectors.
"We have to teach our young girls to lead," Ms. Brazile said in an interview Tuesday. "Then it won't be difficult to encourage women in the future to take their rightful seats at the table, whether it's in law, academia, media, sports or politics."
A 2013 survey by the National Association for Law Placement found the percentage of women associates at law firms in 2013 was 44.79 percent, down from 45.66 percent in 2009.
It's clear a gender gap still exists across the profession, Ms. Brazile said, noting a recent study by the nonprofit organization Catalyst found only 23 percent of federal judges and 27 percent of state judges were women.
Ms. Brazile is scheduled to be the featured speaker at a luncheon today for the Allegheny County Bar Association's Women in the Law Division, just about halfway through Women's History Month.
In remarks prepared for the talk, she said there should be more than 30 days set aside to celebrate the achievements of women: "Here's the thing: We need to celebrate women every month. We need to make our voices heard every day."
In her four-decade career, Ms. Brazile, an adjunct professor of women's studies at Georgetown University, has worked on several presidential campaigns.
She is a regular commentator on CNN and contributor to ABC News and National Public Radio.
She's also vice chair of voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee, and says women need not only to vote, but to run for office. And it's up to the women currently holding office and those who have worked their way up the corporate ladder to extend a lifeline to encourage others, she said.
"The elevator to our future has been stuck on the ground floor," Ms. Brazile said.
"Women in politics need to become more visible in the political landscape to encourage the next generation of female leaders," she said.
"Visibility is viability. Young girls need to see female leaders, to be able to envision themselves in those positions."