Women Inspiring Change 2015

The 2nd Annual Harvard Law International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit showcases the astounding contributions of women around the world to the areas of law and policy. The honorees—each of whom were nominated by HLS students, faculty or staff—are powerful voices in their respective fields, whether they are sitting on a high court bench, standing in front of a classroom, or marching in the streets. 

The International Women’s Day Exhibit Committee is honored to present our community with the 2015 honorees.

Click on an honoree’s name to view her portrait and a full biography. 





Michelle Alexander

Civil rights advocate; Professor of Law at Ohio State University; Author of The New Jim Crow; Recipient of the NAACP Image Award for best nonfiction; Former director of the Racial Justice Project for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.


Sabrineh Ardalan ’02

Assistant Director and Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program; Former Equal Justice America fellow at The Opportunity Agenda.


Sujatha Baliga

Director, Restorative Justice Project and Associate Director of the National Council of Crime & Delinquency; Recipient of the Soros Justice Fellowship (2008); Faculty member of the 2013 NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Annual Capital Punishment Training Conference.


Julie Bédard

Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, specializing in International Litigation and Arbitration. Recipient of the ‘Best in Commercial Arbitration’ Euromoney Women in Business Law Award (2012, 2013, 2014); Named by the World Economic Forum as a ‘Young Global Leader’ and selected by Latin Lawyer as an ‘Inspiring Woman in Law’ (2013).


Fatou Bensouda

Gambian lawyer, civil servant, and international criminal law prosecutor; Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since June 2012; Former Legal Advisor and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Recipient of the ICJ International Jurists Award (2009); Named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People (2012).


Valerie Biden Owens

Executive Vice President of Joe Slade White & Company; One of the first women in the U.S. to have managed both U.S. Senatorial and Presidential campaigns; Former member of the National Board of the Women’s Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee; Board member of The Ministry of Caring.


Ann Burroughs

Board Chair of Amnesty International USA; Partner at Social Sector Partners; Human rights activist.


Susan Butler Plum

Founding Director of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation; Former Director of the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Foundation and Program Director of the Booth Ferris Foundation; Former Associate Director of the Environmental Defense Fund; Member of the Morris Dees Award selection committee and the international advisory council of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative.


Jennifer Chacón

Professor of Law focusing on immigration law, constitutional law, and criminal law.


Ellen Cosgrove

Dean of Students at Harvard Law School; Advocate for students within the Law School and the University; Former Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Law School; Trustee of Mount Holyoke College; Trustee of the Practicing Law Institute; Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers; Recipient of the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Recognition Award (2006 and 2009).


Sarah Coyne

Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York; Recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention, the Investigative Award for Excellence from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency; Named ‘Prosecutor of the Year’ by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.


Kimberlé Crenshaw ’84

Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law Schools; Prominent figure in critical race theory discourse; Developer of the idea of intersectionality; Co-Founder of the African American Policy Forum; Founding member of the Women’s Media Initiative.


Janet Crepps

Senior Counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights; Former consultant for the Reproductive Freedom Project of the American Civil Liberties Union; Former lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho; Former Assistant Public Defender in Anchorage, Alaska.


Angela Davis

Political activist, scholar and author; Leader in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement; Founder of Critical Resistance; Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC); Former director of UCSC’s Feminist Studies Department.


Noura Erakat

Human rights attorney and activist; Assistant Professor at George Mason University; Co-editor of Jadaliyya; Founding board member of the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival.


Carly Fiorina

Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; 2010 Republican nominee for the United States Senate from California; named one of the ’25 most influential women in the GOP’ by Newsmax (2013).


Avril Haines

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor and former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Former Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs of the Office of White House Counsel.


Nikki Haley

Governor of South Carolina; First woman to serve as Governor of South Carolina and youngest current governor in the United States; One of two sitting Indian American governors; Former Representative in the South Carolina House of Representatives.


Fannie Lou Hamer

American voting rights activist and civil rights leader; Organizer of the Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; Former Vice-Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.


Jo Ann Harris

The first woman to lead the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Former chief of the Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York; Recipient of the Justice Department Henry E. Petersen award.


Dolores Huerta

Labor leader and civil rights activist; Early member of the National Farmworkers Association; Recipient of the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award, the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Nancy Lieberman

Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. Director, New York State Spinal Cord Injury Review Board; Director, National Center for Law and Economic Justice; Named by The National Law Journal as one of the ’50 most influential women lawyers in America’ (1998).


Mia Love

First Haitian American elected to Congress; Former Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah (2010 – 2014).


Susana Martinez

Governor of the State of New Mexico; First Latina elected governor in U.S. History; First woman to serve as Governor of New Mexico; Former District Attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County in Southern New Mexico; Named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People (2013).


Mari Matsuda ’83

Lawyer, activist and law professor at the University of Hawaii; First Asian American woman to become a tenured law professor in the U.S.; Former judicial training consultant in Micronesia and South Africa; leading voice on critical race theory, reparations and affirmative action.


Layli Miller-Muro

Attorney, women’s rights activist and human rights advocate; Founder and Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Center; Former attorney at Arnold & Porter LLP; Former attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice; Recipient of the Diane Von Furstenburg Award (2012); Named one of Newsweek‘s ‘150 most Fearless Women in the World’ (2012).


Janet Mock

American writer, advocate for trans women’s rights and New York Times bestselling authorFounder of #GirlsLikeUs and host of MSNBC’s “So POPular!”


Margaret Montoya ’78

Emerita Professor of Law, University of New Mexico; Recipient of the Clyde Ferguson Award, given annually for accomplishments in scholarship, teaching and service; Recipient of the Kate Stoneman Award from Albany Law School; Recipient of Harvard University’s Sheldon Traveling Fellowship.


Linda Myers

Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP; Leader of Kirkland’s Debt Finance practice and member of the firm’s Global Management Committee.


Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera

Ugandan LGBT rights activist; Founder of Freedom & Roam Uganda (FARUG); Recipient of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (2011) and the Nuremburg International Human rights Award (2013).


Andrea Park

Staff attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau; Student supervisor and mentor in the Foreclosure Task Force.


Nina Perales

Vice President of Litigation for MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund); Best known for her work on voting rights, including redistricting and vote dilution cases.


Faustina Pereira

Lawyer, human rights activist and author; Director of Human Rights and Legal Aid Services, BRAC; Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (2006).


Allyson Dylan Robinson

LGBT human rights activist; Minister; Graduate of West Point and former Captain in the U.S. Army.


Janice Rogers Brown

Federal Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit; former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court; Former Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal and Civil Divisions of the California Attorney General’s Office.


Nawal El Saadawi

Egyptian feminist, writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist; Founder and President of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association; Co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights; Former Author of the Supreme Council for Arts and Social Sciences, Cairo; Former Secretary General of the Medical Association, Cairo, Egypt; Recipient of the Council of Europe North-South Prize (2004) and the Inana International Prize (2005).


Olga Sánchez Cordero

Mexican jurist and author; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation of Mexico.


Linda Sarsour

Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities; Community activist and lead organizer for The Campaign to Take on Hate.


Kshama Sawant

Socialist activist, Seattle City Council Member, economics professor; First socialist to win a city-wide election in Seattle since 1916.


Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Criminologist and specialist in human rights and women’s rights; Recipient of the Gruber Foundation Women’s Rights Prize (2008); Director of Gender Studies at Mada al-Carmel.


Marina Silva

Brazilian environmentalist and politician; Former Minister of the Environment; Former Senator; Recipient of the Sophie Prize (2009) and Goldman Environmental Prize (2007); Named one of the ‘Champions of the Earth’ by the United Nations Environment Program (2007) and a ‘Woman of the Year’ by the “Financial Times” (2014).


Rangita de Silva de Alwis ’97

Former Director, Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center; Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Law Human Rights Program; Women’s human rights scholar and practitioner.


Anne-Marie Slaughter

President and CEO of New America; Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University; First woman to serve as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of State; Recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award as well as meritorious service awards from USAID and the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe.


Jeanne Shaheen

First woman to serve as Governor of New Hampshire; First woman to serve in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the State of New Hampshire; Only woman in U.S. history to be elected both a Governor and Senator; Former director of the Harvard Institute of Politics.


Laura Stein ’87

Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The Clorox Company; Former General Counsel of the H.J. Heinz Company and President of the Heinz Women’s Group; Co-chair of the Corporate Pro Bono Advisory Board; Board Member of Equal Justice Works, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Harvard Law School Program on the Future of the Legal Profession, and the American Judicature Society.


Jeannie Suk ’02

Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Named one of the ‘Best Lawyers Under 40’ by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and ‘Top Woman of the Law’ by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Former Marhsall Scholar; Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship; Recipient of the Law and Society Association’s Herbert Jacob Prize.


Urvashi Vaid

Indian-American LGBT rights activist; Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School; Founder of LPAC, the first lesbian political action committee; Former Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Former staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union; Founder of The Vaid Group.


Wendy Young

President, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND); Recipient of the Child Advocacy National Certification of Recognition from the American Bar Association (2001) and the Human Rights Award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (1999).