Women in the Pennsylvania judiciary

PA Courts InfoShare

News Article

March 10, 2017

March is National Women’s History Month, an ideal time to look at the history of women in the Pennsylvania judiciary as well as those women currently serving.

It has been 87 years since the first woman, Sara M. Soffel (Allegheny), served as a judge in Pennsylvania. Today, 29 percent of Pennsylvania’s active judges are women who serve the courts at the appellate, trial and minor court levels. For the first time ever, three women sit on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania is also home to Juanita Kidd Stout (Philadelphia), the first African-American woman elected to a court of record in the United States, the first to sit on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the first appointed to any state Supreme Court.

The majority of the judges now serving on the Superior Court (75 percent) and Commonwealth Court (57 percent) are women, and the president judges of both of those courts are women.

The infographic below highlights data about women on the bench. Download a high-resolution version of the graphic.


Women in the Pennsylvania Judiciary


PA Courts InfoShare is a bi-weekly product of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) that visually highlights the work of the courts with interesting data and statistics obtained through the judiciary’s case management systems, interactive dashboards and other research. Reproduction is encouraged with source cited.


Media contact:    Amy Kelchner, 717-231-3328

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