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United StatesAsian AmericanJudge

Pamela K. Chen

Pamela Ki Mai Chen, born on March 30, 1961, in Chicago, United States, is a highly esteemed United States district judge known for her dedication to ensuring justice and upholding civil rights. Chen’s remarkable career includes working at prestigious law firms, the United States Department of Justice, and the United States Attorney’s office. She was appointed as a United States district judge for the Eastern District of New York, making history as the first openly LGBTQ+ Asian-American person to serve on the federal bench. Chen’s appointment exemplifies the importance of diversity and representation in the justice system.

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United StatesActivistJudge

Phyllis Frye

Phyllis Randolph Frye, born circa 1946 in San Antonio, Texas, is a transgender woman who has made significant strides in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Frye’s journey towards becoming the first openly transgender judge appointed in the world has been marked with obstacles and challenges, which she faced with resilience and unwavering determination.

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United StatesJudgeLawyer

Victoria Kolakowski

Victoria Kolakowski (born August 29, 1961) is an American lawyer who broke through barriers and made history as the first openly transgender person to serve as a trial court judge of general jurisdiction in the United States and the first to serve as any type of judge in California. Her groundbreaking achievements have not only shattered glass ceilings but have also paved the way for inclusivity and equality within the justice system.

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Puerto RicoJudgeLawyer

Nitza Quiñones Alejandro

Nitza Ileana Quiñones Alejandro, born in January 1951 in Puerto Rico, became the first Hispanic woman to be appointed as a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Her nomination faced controversy, but she persevered and went on to serve for 22 years. In 2012, she made history as the first lesbian Latina to be appointed as a federal judge by President Barack Obama. Her trailblazing efforts have paved the way for diversity and inclusivity within the judiciary.

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Susanne Baer

Susanne Baer, a German legal scholar and judge, has made significant contributions to public law and gender studies. With a strong passion for constitutional law and anti-discrimination, she has played an instrumental role in shaping German law and advancing women’s rights. Baer’s dedication to gender equality and her commitment to upholding constitutional values have had a profound impact on society.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJudge

Deborah Batts

Deborah Batts, the first openly LGBT, African-American federal judge in the United States, made history and left a lasting legacy. Born in Philadelphia, Batts had a strong sense of social justice and a passion for making a difference. Throughout her career, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney, faculty member at Fordham University School of Law, and a federal judge in the Southern District of New York. Batts’ contributions shattered glass ceilings and inspired future generations of diverse legal professionals.

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Zakia Hakki

Zakia Ismael Hakki was a Feyli Kurdish lawyer who became Iraq’s first female judge in 1959. She played a crucial role in advocating for the rights of Kurdish women and fought against injustice and discrimination throughout her career. Despite facing persecution and danger, Hakki remained resilient and dedicated to the pursuit of justice and equality. Her contributions to the legal landscape of Iraq and the Middle East have left a lasting impact and serve as an inspiration to women worldwide.

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Annie Jiagge

Annie Ruth Jiagge, the first woman in Ghana and the Commonwealth of Nations to become a judge, dedicated her life to advocating for gender equality and empowering women worldwide. As a principal drafter of the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, she played a pivotal role in combating gender-based discrimination globally and co-founded Women’s World Banking, an organization dedicated to advancing women’s economic and social well-being. Her legacy continues to inspire and shape Ghanaian society and women’s history.

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IndonesiaUnited StatesJudge

Joyce L. Kennard

Josephine “Joyce” Luther Kennard, born on May 6, 1941, is a Dutch-American judge and former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California. She was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian in 1989 and served as the longest-serving justice sitting on the Court until her retirement in 2014. Kennard was retained by California’s voters three times, first to fill the unexpired term in 1990, followed by second and third consecutive twelve-year terms in 1994 and 2006.

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Nora Astorga

Nora Josefina Astorga Gadea de Jenkins was a prominent figure in the Nicaraguan Revolution, known for her role as a guerrilla fighter, lawyer, politician, judge, and the Nicaraguan ambassador to the United Nations. Born on December 10, 1948, in Managua, Nicaragua, she hailed from a religious, upper-middle-class family. Her father, Segundo Astorga, had ties to the influential ruling Somoza family, as he was a lumber exporter and rancher. Nora was the eldest child of Segundo and his wife, Mierrel Gadea.

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Yelena Davydova

Yelena Viktorovna Davydova is a Russian-Canadian gymnastics coach and judge who became the women’s artistic individual all-around champion at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Despite facing adversity in her early years, Davydova’s talent and determination propelled her to success in gymnastics. Her contributions as an athlete, coach, and judge have made her a pioneer in the sport and solidified her legacy as one of the most influential figures in the history of women’s gymnastics.

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United StatesJewishJudge

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an American lawyer and jurist, made an indelible mark on the Supreme Court of the United States. Despite early adversity, she fearlessly pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer and went on to challenge laws that discriminated on the basis of gender. Ginsburg’s legacy as a champion for justice and equality will endure as an inspiration to future generations.

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United StatesAfrican AmericanJudge

Edith Jacqueline Ingram Grant

Edith Jacqueline Ingram Grant was the first African American woman judge in the United States, dedicating her life to public service and making significant contributions to the legal system. Her trailblazing career paved the way for other women of color in the legal profession.

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Maria Grazia Giammarinaro

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is an Italian judge and policy-maker who has made significant contributions to the field of gender-based violence and human trafficking. She has played a key role in shaping legislation and policies to protect the rights of women and victims of trafficking. With a strong educational background and experience in both the judiciary and government, her work has had a significant impact on society.

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United StatesIndigenousJudge

Diane Humetewa

Diane Joyce Humetewa, born on December 5, 1964, is a highly accomplished and trailblazing figure in the legal field. She has made significant contributions as a judge and attorney, breaking barriers and making history along the way. With a distinguished career that spans diverse roles and responsibilities, Humetewa has become a prominent advocate for justice and equality, particularly as a Native American woman.

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