Firm Statement for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

March, 2024

On behalf of Sanford Heisler Sharp, we wish everyone a happy International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. On March 8th, and all month long, we invite everyone to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and to spur action for accelerating women’s equality.


It is a daunting time to be a woman; despite progress made in political and social rights, women continue to face inequality and violence around the world. In the United States, reproductive rights and freedoms continue to erode with alarming speed; since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and 50 years’ worth of precedent with its decision in Dobbs v.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization, twenty-one states have passed laws that ban or limit access to reproductive healthcare.1 Several states, including Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Virginia have even passed bounty-hunter style laws that incentivize reporting abortion providers or anyone who assists another in obtaining an abortion.2 A recent February 16 decision by an Alabama court restricts the use of in vitro fertilization on the basis that the destruction of frozen embryos constitutes wrongful death.3 These laws and opinion strike at the core tenets of reproductive justice: a woman’s right to choose to have children or to not have children. These attacks are counter to the firm’s values of equality, personal autonomy, and reproductive freedom—and must be vigorously challenged.

Despite its wealth and international status, the United States has a maternal death rate that is higher than other high-income countries4 and is on the rise, particularly for Black women.5

The United States also lacks any federal paid family leave, and affordable childcare is scarce.6 Women, especially women of color, continue to be plagued by pay disparities that have barely improved in the last two decades.7

Outside of the workplace, women face domestic violence, with nearly three in ten women in the U.S. experiencing rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner.8 Transgender women in particular continue to endure extraordinary levels of violence; a recent report found that of the 320 transgender and gender diverse people killed in the United States between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023, 94% identified as trans women or trans feminine.9


The theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is “inspiring inclusion.” It can be hard to feel inspired after that laundry list of bad news (no reference to women’s disproportionate domestic workload intended), but there are bright spots:

Reproductive healthcare remains protected in twenty-one states.10 California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and New York, as well as New York City and St. Louis, Missouri have banned discrimination on the basis of reproductive decision-making. The District of Columbia’s paid family leave can be used for prenatal care.11 New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar has proposed a bill that would expand the state’s paid parental leave to include workers who had stillbirths. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia now have paid family leave laws or family leave insurance programs.12 Eight states have enacted and fifteen more are considering pay transparency laws, which can help level the playing field for women during salary negotiations.13

At the federal level, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) was signed into law on December 29, 2022, which requires employers to provide a private room and reasonable break time to express breast milk.14 The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which went into effect on June 27, 2023, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.15

More victims of sexual violence are seeking justice as states have extended statutes of limitations for these claims or opened look-back windows to allow claims that otherwise would

be barred by a statute of limitations.16 For instance, approximately 3,000 claims were filed during the one year window allowed by New York’s Adult Survivors Act.17 In a win for advocates against intimate partner violence, the Supreme Court may uphold a state law banning gun ownership by those under a court order to stay away from their spouses or partners in the case of United States v. Rahimi.18

The Firm’s Work

At Sanford Heisler Sharp, we strive to make workplaces better for women. We represent women who have faced sexual harassment, sex or gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, or pay disparities. The litigation we pursue has led to significant reform in the workplace, with the goal of improving the lives of employees today and in the future.

We also help victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse find a measure of justice through the civil court system. Our Sexual Violence, Title IX, and Victims’ Rights practice has grown exponentially over the past year thanks to the diligent work of partners Christine Dunn and Carolin Guentert. In all of these areas, we have successfully litigated cases involving some of the country’s largest and most established institutions, from major universities to Fortune 500 companies and BigLaw firms.

This year, the National Women’s History Month Alliance, which annually designates the National Women’s History Month theme, celebrates, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” Recognizing the existence and impact of our intersectional world is imperative within the gender equality movement and our own legal advocacy as civil rights and employment attorneys; for example, understanding the nuance that a client may be discriminated against not solely because they are Black or a woman but because they are a Black woman can be a meaningful distinction.

In the book, She Caused a Riot, author Hannah Jewell advises, “Should you find yourself on the receiving end of the disapproval of someone more important or more powerful or supposedly smarter than you, stop and wonder what their motive might be. You may find you’re more powerful than you think.” By helping our clients stand up to some of the biggest institutions in our society—and communicating that we understand their own lived experiences along the way—we work to show them that they are more powerful than they may think.

We hope that the footnotes in this statement will provide helpful additional reading materials and resources as we all work together to create a future that’s safer and brighter for every woman. Please feel free to circulate any additional resources or events related to International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month near your office.


[2] in-state-abortion-laws-have-emerged/


[4] in-2021-cdc-reports

[5] 2021.htm#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20the%20maternal%20mortality,for%20White%20and%20Hispanic%20women.

[6] Issue Brief: Childcare Prices in Local Areas, Women’s Bureau, Department of Labor, January 2023.

[7] gap/#:~:text=The%20gender%20pay%20gap%20%E2%80%93%20the,every%20dollar%20earned%20by%20men.

[8] statistics/#:~:text=1%20in%204%20women%20(24.3,intimate%20partner%20in%20their%20lifetime.

[9] murdered-in-2023/?sh=183b7d241646


[11] D.C. Code § 32–541.04

[12] s/#:~:text=Thirteen%20states%20and%20the%20District,are%20not%20yet%20in%20effect.

[13] Id.


[15] act#:~:text=The%20PWFA%2C%20which%20is%20administered,the%20employer%20an%20undue%20hardship.



[18] domestic-violence-restraining-orders

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