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School of Law


Rule of Law Collaborative hosts symposium to empower women

As women around the world rise up and make their voices heard, the Rule of Law Collaborative at the University of South Carolina Office of the Provost looks to amplify the discussion with a timely symposium, “Women as Agents of Change in Rule of Law.” Hosted in collaboration with the university’s School of Law, College of Arts and Sciences Women's and Gender Studies Program, and the Dr. Mary Baskin Waters Annual Lecture Series, the symposium will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21 and Thursday, Feb. 22, and will bring together leaders from many countries to examine strategies for change in such areas as human rights education, good governance, and justice sector leadership.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, brings a lifetime of experiences to the discussion. As an activist, medical doctor, academic, business woman, and political force in South Africa, Ramphele has spent her life in many roles, working towards the same goal: bringing justice to the underrepresented and disadvantaged people of South Africa. She will give her address on the evening of Feb. 21 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the USC School of Law, Karen J. Williams Courtroom.

Ramphele is joined by several other highly-regarded social justice advocates, including:

  • Patricia Nyaundi, a Kenyan activist who pioneered the “160 Girls project” which focused on addressing the root causes of sexual violence
  • Judge Najla Ayoubi, an Afghani judge and human rights activist who played an instrumental role in the constitution making process
  • Sue Berkowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
  • Judge Teresa Doherty, international judge who convicted rebel soldiers in Sierra Leone on the crime of “forced marriage” as a crime against humanity
  • Brenda Hollis, first woman to prosecute a sitting head of state, former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor

The panelists will tackle tough issues, such as personal status, violence and insecurity, as well as the underlying gender inequalities present in all societies that have forced women to rely on the legal system for justice.

The goal of the symposium is to create a launching pad for future action by exploring ways to empower women through effective solutions that can be implemented across a wide range of cultures.  ROLC also aims to highlight the struggles of women across the world through the creation of an online platform to capture and share the narratives of women around the world.

The full-day symposium will be hosted at the School of Law’s Judge Karen J. Williams Courtroom from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and has been approved for 6.5 CLE credits.

For more information about speakers, topics and background information about the symposium, visit the ROLC website. To register for the event, click here.