The Justice For Women Lecture (JFW) Series brings a distinguished speaker to Maine annually to present a public lecture and to contribute to a global conversation about justice for women and girls in the developing world.

The Lecture Series was established in 2011 with the generous support and leadership of Catherine Lee of Lee International.

2021 Justice For Women Lecture

The 2021 Justice For Women Lecture brought together an amazing lineup of activists from around the world for an engaging discussion on the impact of climate change on indigenous women. The tenth annual event took place virtually on April 15, 2021.

The Lecture kicked off with a special message from Representative Deb Haaland and a reading by Joan Naviyuk Kane, Inupiaq writer, Harvard, Scripps, and Tufts faculty. The panel discussion was moderated by Joaqlin Estus, national correspondent for the Alaska bureau of Indian Country Today. Featured panelists included:

  • Galina Angarova – Executive Director at Cultural Survival
  • Quannah ChasingHorse – Land Protector and Climate Activist
  • Sherri Mitchell – Lawyer, Author, and Indigenous Rights Activist
  • Sara Olsvig – Ph.D. Fellow and Former MP of Greenland

A video recording of this event is available on Maine Law’s YouTube Channel.

View the digital program to find more information on the Lecture.

Video Project

Following the 2021 Justice For Women Lecture, 2L Sara Freshley was inspired to create a video called, “Indigenous Women are the Future,” for her Arctic Law, Science, and Policy Class at the University of Maine School of Law. Her video focuses on the critical role indigenous women play in society and specifically in the climate movement. Sara’s video can be watched on Maine Law’s YouTube Channel.

  • Maria Luisa Aguilar Rodriguez (Mexico), International Advocacy Officer at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh)
    2019, “The Human Rights Crisis in Mexico: Origins, Impacts, Opportunities” [Video]
  • Mariam Jalabi (Syria), Representative of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces’ Office at the United Nations in New York
    2018, “The Struggle for Human Rights: From Syria” [Video]
  • Zainah Anwar (Malaysia), Director of Musawah and Founding Member and former Executive Director of Sisters Islam
    2017, “What Islam, Whose Islam? The Struggle for Women’s Right to Equality and Justice in Muslim Contexts” [Video]
  • Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda (Zimbabwe), CEO of FANRPAN
    2016, “Overcoming Food Insecurity – Ideas & Inspirations from Zimbabwe to Maine” [Video]
  • Ruchira Gupta (India), Founder & President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide
    2015, “Ending Sex Trafficking by Putting the Last Girl First” [Video]
  • Dr. Sima Samar (Afghanistan), Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
    2014, “Women’s Rights in Afghanistan” [Video]
  • Hon. Albie Sachs, former activist and lawyer (South Africa)
    2013, “50 Years with Nelson Mandela: From Law Breaking to Law Making” (special lecturer)
  • Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Author, and Liberian Peace Activist
    2013, “The Rule of Law and Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence” [Video]
  • Hon. Unity Dow (Botswana), International Human Rights Advocate, Novelist, and Former Judge, Botswana High Court
    2012, “Juggling Truths: When Justice is a Moving Target” [Video]

Courage is Contagious Award

The Courage is Contagious Award is awarded annually at the Justice For Women Lecture to an outstanding woman leader who demonstrates a commitment to the mission of the Justice For Women Lecture Series.

Learn More

Want to learn more about the Justice For Women Lecture? Check out this short video: