Law

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Jeanette Goodman Brill

As the first woman magistrate in Brooklyn and the second woman magistrate in New York, Jeanette Goodman Brill believed women had an aptitude and responsibility to judge cases involving women and children.

Rebecca Thurman Bernstein

Rebecca Thurman Bernstein was lauded by local and national organizations for her efforts to improve health care, literacy, and Jewish life in Portland, Maine.

Margarete Berent

Margarete Berent fought for acceptance as the first female lawyer to practice in Prussia and began her career again from scratch after fleeing Nazi persecution.

Evangelyn Barsky

One of the first two women allowed to pass the bar in Delaware, Evangelyn Barsky made a great impact on her community in her brief career.

Charlene Barshefsky

Charlene Barshefsky was a powerful proponent of free trade in Bill Clinton’s administration as the United States Trade Representative, a Cabinet-level post.

Patricia Barr

Patricia Barr turned her personal struggles into a national cause as an advocate for breast cancer research and treatment.

Clarice Baright

Clarice Baright was one of the first women admitted to the American Bar Association and the second woman to become a magistrate in New York City.

Birdie Amsterdam

Birdie Amsterdam capped a career of firsts in the legal profession with her role as the first woman elected to the New York State Supreme Court.

Simone Veil

Simone Veil fought for women’s rights as a member of the French Parliament, and the 1975 law allowing women the right to an abortion bears her name.

Caroline Klein Simon

Caroline Klein Simon fought for gender and racial equality and made the first laws against real estate brokers using “blockbusting” tactics to force sales of homes.

Carol Ruth Silver

Carol Ruth Silver was one of the first two white women to be jailed in the Freedom Rides, an experience that sparked a career in law and politics, fighting for the rights of others.

Janice Goodman

Janice Goodman’s work on civil rights issues drove her to become a lawyer, arguing class action cases for women’s rights.

Esther Brandeau

The first Jew known to set foot on Canadian soil, Esther Brandeau disguised herself as a boy to gain freedom and independence.

Ernestine Rose

An early feminist who inspired Susan B. Anthony, Ernestine Rose was particularly remarkable for her insistence that women’s rights and slave emancipation needed to be approached as one issue: the freedom of all people.

Judith S. Kaye

As the first woman to serve as chief judge of the state of New York, Judith S. Kaye transformed the state’s entire court system to better handle its overwhelming caseload.

Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein made a career of political firsts, as first female gubernatorial candidate and first female senator for the state of California.

Jennie Loitman Barron

Jennie Loitman Barron became a lawyer before women had the right to serve on juries in her state and went on to become the first woman justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court.

Rosalie Silberman Abella

Rosalie Silberman Abella’s early experiences as a refugee fueled her dedication to justice and led her to become the first Jewish woman elected to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg brought landmark cases for gender and racial equality before the Supreme Court, transforming the American legal landscape even before her historic appointment as the second-ever female Supreme Court justice.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Sonia Pressman Fuentes, the first female attorney in the office of the general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, helped extend the Civil Rights Act’s protections of equal opportunity to all people regardless of gender.

Joyce Antler

Using both field research and her own experiences posing as a pregnant woman, Joyce Antler not only helped repeal New York’s laws against abortion, but ensured that women had real access to medical services after the law was repealed.

Miriam Waltzer

As the first woman elected to the New Orleans Criminal District Court, Miriam Waltzer fought for the civil rights of minorities, children, and women.

Judy Somberg

Judy Somberg’s work with the Sister Cities Project in El Salvador helped locals return to their villages after the military takeover in 1987 and freed eleven people who had been “disappeared.”

Susan Maze-Rothstein

Susan Maze-Rothstein’s childhood experiences of injustice led her to help create a more just world for her children and her students.

Ruth Abrams

The first woman to serve on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Ruth Abrams upheld the rights of women and minorities throughout her career.

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