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Jessica Neuwirth is an international women’s rights lawyer and activist. She is one of the founders of Equality Now, an international women’s rights organization established in 1992, and the founder and Director of Donor Direct Action, an offshoot project now hosted by the Sisterhood is Global Institute to support women’s rights organizations around the world. She is also a founder and Co-President of the new ERA Coalition, mobilizing a renewed effort to get the Equal Rights Amendment into the United States Constitution. To aid this effort, she has also written a book Equal Means Equal, Why the Time for the ERA is Now.
Jessica holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in History from Yale University. She has worked for the human rights organization Amnesty International, for the Wall Street law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, and for the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, as well as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She served as a special consultant on sexual violence to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for its landmark Akayesu judgment holding that rape is a form of genocide, and again worked for the Rwanda Tribunal on the Media judgment holding print and radio media accountable for their role in the Rwandan genocide. More recently she directed the legal team that drafted the judgment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone convicting former Liberian President Charles Taylor of war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a guest lecturer, Jessica has taught international women’s rights at Harvard Law School.
Jessica is the recipient of the following honors and awards:
- Susan B. Anthony Award, National Organization for Women, New York City Chapter, 1997
- Special Citation, Advice Desk for Abused Women, Durban, South Africa, 2000
- Ms. Women of the Year, 2003
- Visionary Ending Violence Award, Harvard Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, 2005
- Edith I. Spivack Award, New York County Lawyers’ Association, 2009
- New York Moves Power Women of the Year, 2015
- Civic Spirit Award, Women’s City Club, 2016
- Women’s eNews – 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, 2017