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A blog about the journeys we all make, about finding meaning, about law, justice, travel, human rights and human dignity, and about learning and exploring our complex yet beautiful world.

social change

Incredible reminder on the violence of success & prestige

Hey there! Thanks for checking out my blog. If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed to receive updates. Thanks for visiting! Please watch the above TEDx Talk by Alok Vaid-Menon. Then digest. And share. He provides some much needed reminders to reconsider how we view success in this world, and what it truly will take to contribute to social justice and social change. Some of my favorite quotes: Should you desire to be successful you will not actually bring human rights for all, eliminate poverty, end nuclear war, or fix Congress. If you go in…

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human rights, international development, legal empowerment, personal, public interest law, women's rights

New article on legal empowerment in Bangladesh!

I am truly excited to announce my very first published paper! I’ve been working on this paper since 2012, when I spent two months in Bangladesh researching BRAC’s expansive and community-based legal aid and legal empowerment program, and particularly its impact on women’s rights. I’m very happy to say that my piece has been published by the World Bank Justice and Development Working Paper Series. I could not be more thankful to BRAC for allowing me to conduct this research and to study their access to justice and dispute resolution model, and also to the World Bank for choosing to…

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international development, legal empowerment, public interest law, women's rights

Legal aid as a right: India’s example

This past January, I had the fortune of researching Muslim women’s legal rights under family law and inheritance law, as well as civil laws relating to domestic violence, child marriage, and dowry in India. It was a fantastic learning experience, and what I learned about India truly impressed me. India has some incredible laws on paper to protect women’s rights, including strong rights and entitlements relating to domestic violence and dowry. Yet, the challenge that I always observe comes down, once again, to the implementation gap. When it comes to implementation, I often turn to legal aid — can people…

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human rights, issues, women's rights

Equality Now’s new report on child marriage

As part of a legal report I’m currently writing covering Muslim women’s legal rights in India, I have had to deal with the considerable and overlapping laws relating to child marriage, as well as the reality and commonality of child marriage here in India. This new report by international women’s rights organization, Equality Now, “Protecting the Girl Child” provides an excellent overview on how we can utilize the law to end child, early, and forced marriage. One thing I keep struggling with is the implementation gap, and this report provides some great suggestions on turning the laws on the books…

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international development

Reflections on “the field”

I’ve just started a brief project in India, but I’ve immediately noticed the use of the word “field” here; it’s pervasive, and refers to going to the more rural Indian villages that projects are based in and where ‘beneficiaries’ (another jargony word I don’t love) are located. However, the word “field” is just as much used in the U.S. to describe going to India – or Kenya – or Afghanistan – or any country, even if you’re just going to the country headquarters in a major city. I do think that living and working abroad, and meeting, listening to, and…

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life, personal

New Year Reflections: 2013

This was a momentous year. I’d call it a marathon. It was a marathon – not necessarily (or at all) of the body – but of the soul, of the spirit, of the heart, of the brain. In all honesty, this year has left me fulfilled but also a bit exhausted, mentally and emotionally. It was an exercise in calisthenics for one sore brain. It was a year of turning from fresh-faced 1L into seasoned 2L (I hope!). The joyful completion of one of the most difficult things I’ve done: the first year of law school. This year meant many late…

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career, issues, personal, women's rights

Leaning In: Grappling with Privilege & Structural Reform

In reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, I found many lessons that were highly applicable to my own life. Her words provided encouragement to stay confident and to push forward for my dream career rather than stepping back at a young age to focus instead on family and marriage. And yet, I found myself ultimately deeply skeptical of her intrinsic argument for a variety of reasons.  First, although Sandberg herself acknowledges this, her book largely applies only to the 1% — to privileged women who have had the opportunity to pursue higher education…

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career, personal

On learning to love the questions

In a previous post, I spoke about how this fall has been a time of being plunged into a whirlpool of questions. There are questions about personal career choice as law school begins to come to an end (even almost two years away, as graduation is, these questions loom ever closer). Do I love direct legal services, or international women’s rights and access to justice — or as is more likely both? Am I pursuing my dream or am I giving them up for something more comfortable, less challenging? Am I abandoning my biggest hopes for fear, once again — or…

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women's rights

Quotes to remember: bell hooks on Leaning In

Mass media (along with Sandberg) is telling us that by sheer strength of will and staying power, any woman so inclined can work hard and climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top. Shrewdly, Sandberg acknowledges that not all women desire to rise to the top, asserting that she is not judging women who make different choices. However, the real truth is that she is making judgments about the nature of women and work – that is what the book is fundamentally about. Her failure to confront the issue of women acquiring wealth allows her to ignore concrete…

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