Elizabeth Garrett (1963-2016) was the first female president of Cornell University.
She ascended to the role in 2015, but served for less than a year, tragically
dying of cancer while in office.
She studied law at the University of
Virginia, and later became a legal advisor for the Iran – US Claim Tribunal at
The Hague. She was a professor and deputy dean for academic affairs at the
University of Chicago and a visiting professor at numerous other institutions
around the world.
Eleanor Holmes Norton (b. 1937) is a lawyer and politician. She is a non-voting Delegate
to the US House of Representatives, as well as a devoted civil rights activist.
She studied law at Yale, and later worked
as the assistant legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1977
she became the first female Chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
and in 1990 she co-founded the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom
Theodora Wood (b. 1947) is a judge and former
police officer from Ghana. She was the first woman to serve as Chief Justice in
the country, a position which she occupied for ten years.
She studied at the Ghana Law School, as
well as the Police College, and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002. She
is also a member of the Council of State and a board member of the
international human rights organisation Global Justice Center.
Barbara Calvert (1926-2015) was a barrister specialising in
family law. She was the first woman Head of Chambers in the United Kingdom.
finished her studied at the London School of Economics and started her profession
at a time when only 3% of barristers were women. In 1974, she established her
own chambers in London, the first woman ever to do so in the country. She was
also the first woman elected as a Bencher of the Middle Temple.
Bolin (1908-2007) was a lawyer and judge who
achieved a number of historic firsts. She was the first black woman to graduate
from Yale Law School, the first to join the New York City Bar Association and
the first to serve as a judge in the United States.
She graduated from Yale Law School in 1931,
from a class where she was the only black student and one of three women. She
was appointed as a judge in 1939 and served in this position for 40 years. She
was also a legal advisor to the National Council of Negro Women and an activist
for education and children’s rights.
Moskalenko (b. 1954)
is the leading human rights lawyer in Russia. She and her team have won 27
cases against the Russian government at the European Court of Human Rights,
including the very first one that the Court heard against the Russian
She is a member of the
human rights organisation Moscow Helsinki Group, as well as the Media Legal
Defence Initiative, which provides legal aid to journalists and media
organizations worldwide. In 2008 she was the victim of an attempted mercury
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
(1898-1989) was a trailbrazer for
African American women in the academic environment. She was the first
African-American woman to obtain a PhD in economics in the United States, as
well as the first to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
She was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School in 1923
as its first female African-American student, and was the first to graduate in
1927, the same year she was admitted to the state Bar. She later served as the
President of the John F. Kennedy Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Karen DeCrow (1937-2014)
was an American attorney and feminist. She was a strong supporter of equal child
custody rights, arguing that men as well as women should be able to care for
their children after divorce.
She was the only
woman in her class at the Syracuse University College of Law, where she earned
her Juris Doctor. She served as the President of the National Organization for
Women for three years, during which time she pressured NASA to recruit female
astronauts and established a taskforce for battered women.
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (b. 1958) is the
current president of Malta, the youngest person and the second woman to hold
this position. She has been in office since 2014.
She has a degree in Legal and Humanistic Studies
and a public notary diploma. In 2014, after taking over the presidency of the
country, she established The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of
Society, a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting social inclusion and
higher living standards.
Caroline Kennedy (b. 1957)
is the daughter of John and Jacqueline Kennedy. She is an attorney and diplomat
who served as the US Ambassador to Japan and dedicated her career to law and
She studied at
Harvard and later earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. She has
written two books on civil liberties and supported Democratic candidates for
the US presidency, endorsing causes such as same-sex marriage and abortion