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Equality Now’s Yasmeen Hassan Awarded the National Public Interest Award from Stanford Law School

Yasmeen Hassan accepts her award from Stanford Law Schoo

“Equality under the law is the first essential step to gender equality…”

Last week brought something very special for everyone at Equality Now to celebrate. Our Global Director, Yasmeen Hassan, was honored with the National Public Service Award from Stanford Law School’s John and Terry Levin Center for Public Interest and the Law. 

This award recognizes a public interest attorney whose work has had a national and, indeed, in the case of Yasmeen, an international impact on social justice. 

As a recipient of the award, Yasmeen joins the ranks of other notable past recipients, including including Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, former Secretary of Labor and current Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, and the Honorable Patricia M. Wald, the first woman to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

“Yasmeen’s work is utterly global,” Stanford Law’s Assistant Dean Diane Chin told faculty and students at a dinner honoring Yasmeen and Stephanie Rudolph, who received the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award.  “The essence of both of their work is found in the belief that the law’s recognition of the rights that they fight for and assert on behalf of [others] is part of a necessary understanding that these clients must be seen and heard and included as critical parts of our community, so that all of our rights are strengthened and all of our communities are better protected.” 

“Equality under the law is the first essential step to gender equality,” Yasmeen said during her remarks …We all want a better and more peaceful world and we can only get there by treating women as equals. This is the struggle of men and women working together to fix humanity so that we can all thrive.” 

Yasmeen’s perspective on the importance of gender equality was shaped while growing up in Pakistan, where Islamic law was imposed when she was just 10. Eventually, Yasmeen would go on to author Pakistan’s first study of domestic violence, which became the country’s submission to the 1995 Fourth World Conference in Beijing.  

Yasmeen’s relationship with Equality Now goes back to 1999, when she edited our first report on discriminatory laws, while still in private practice with David, Polk & Wardwell. Prior to joining Equality Now Yasmeen was with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, where her work focused on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She also contributed to the Secretary-General’s study on violence against women. 

 “It was a pleasure to spend time with Stanford law students and faculty and see the increased commitment to, and encouragement of public service and human rights law,” Yasmeen told us upon her return. “The recognition of our work on using the law to achieve gender equality globally was heartening.” 

Congratulations, Yasmeen!