Women currently make up 22% of all federal judges, a new study has found, and 26% of state-level judges.
The study by the University at Albany-SUNY's Center for Women in Government and Civil Society found that only two states - New Jersey and Connecticut - had achieved a "critical mass" of 33% women among the state's federal judgeships.
As for state judges, eight states have hit the one-third women mark, but 13 are below 20%.
The 33% threshold is “important because it is the point where women become a critical mass and where their number is large enough to induce change in the normative conception of leadership,” said center director Dina Refki in a statement.
Women’s share of the federal bench is at 10% or less in eight states – and nearly non-existent in Montana and New Hampshire.
The report says that the disparity cannot be attributed to a lack of qualified women. According to the American Bar Association, women comprise 48% of law school graduates and 45% of law firm associates. Instead, the report blames a lack of opportunity and access.