The 4th 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 2017 honorees.
HARVARD LAW INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth. UN SDG Global Advocate. Canadian physician. Founder of The Voice of Libyan Women. Nominated to the UN Women Global Advisory Board. MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow. Youngest recipient of the Marisa Bellisario International Humanitarian Award. Named the “International Trust Women Hero 2014” by the New York Times and a 2017 “Forbes 30 Under 30” for her work on global health policy.
Longest serving woman in Congress’s history. First woman to chair the Appropriations Committee. Champion of women’s rights and family protections. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
Catharine A. MacKinnon
Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School and the long-term James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. First Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Co-director of the Lawyers Alliance for Women. Author of dozens of books on sex equality.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah. Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
First American Indian woman to be elected to statewide executive office in Montana. Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Former director of Indian education at the state Office of Public Instruction.
Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts. First black, lesbian mayor in the United States. Has spent three decades in civil service in Cambridge as a member of the Cambridge City Council, the Cambridge School Committee, and the Cambridge Civic Unity Committee.
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Former Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Former Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women. Former Chairperson of the CEDAW Committee. Former head of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. Former Ambassador to the OSCE and United Nations.
Former Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission. First FTC chair to receive the Trumpeter Award from the National Consumers League. Advisory Board member of Harvard University’s Journal of Technology Science. Graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.
First female President Partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (Davos) in 2006. Selected for “Wall Street’s 100 Masters of the New Universe” by the New York Times. Named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in NYC Business” by Crain’s New York Business.
Advocate for equal access to information for people with disabilities. Named a White House Champion of Change, Forbes 30 under 30, and BBC Women of Africa Hero. First Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School.
First female candidate to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. Former Secretary of State. First female Senator from New York. Former First Lady. Co-founder of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. First female chair of the Legal Services Corporation.
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. First Asian-American female to serve as a federal appellate judge. First Vietnamese-American federal judge. First Asian-Pacific American female federal judge in California. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California.
Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender. First Asian-American woman to serve as a department head in Los Angeles County’s history. Awarded the 2005 Defense Lawyer of the Year Award from the L.A. County Bar Association; the 2005 Superior Lawyer of the Year Award from L.A. Times Magazine; and the 2007 Chair Leadership Award from the L.A. Quality and Productivity Commission.
Senator from California. First African American and first woman to serve as Attorney General of California. Created a multidivisional Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to crack down on fraud. Established California’s Bureau of Children’s Justice. Established the first Office of Recidivism Reduction and Reentry.
Investigative journalist and human rights activist. Worked with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani service and with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project covering corruption in Azerbaijan. Named by BBC as one of the most inspirational and influential women in 2016. Winner of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and the Allison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.
Margaret A. Brown
Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and corporate and securities law. Former head of the Boston office and the M&A office. Member of multiple firm committees. Served as co-chair of the Women’s Initiative Committee. Named as a leading lawyer in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2004 and The Best Lawyers in America since 2006.
Marta Lamas Encabo
Anthropologist and political science professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. Leading feminist. Founder and editor of Debate Feminista. Founder of several NGOs that work to improve women’s conditions. Activist for reproductive rights, whose work contributed to the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico City during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Dean of Harvard Law School. Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law. Expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities. Service on Commission on Countering Violent Extremism, Independent Commission on Kosovo, and US Legal Services Corporation Board.
Congresswoman from Utah. First Haitian American and first black female Republican in Congress. Former mayor of Saratoga Springs. Awarded the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ‘Spirit of Enterprise Award.’
Former director of the California Forensic Science Institute. First Asian American woman Commissioner of the Los Angeles Police Commission. First Asian American woman Assistant Attorney General. Awarded the Exceptional Service Award by Attorney General Janet Reno.
Successful litigator of Roe v. Wade. Advocate for women’s rights. Founder of the Weddington Center. First woman to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. First woman to serve as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Former Chair of the Board of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute. Litigated successful, groundbreaking voting rights cases.
Senator from Maine. Most senior Republican woman in the Senate. Named one of the most powerful women in Washington by Elle magazine. Led the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Senator from Illinois. Iraq War Veteran. Among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recipient of the Purple Heart. Former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Former member of the House of Representatives.