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Gender Justice and Criminal Law Reform Conference



Flavia Agnes is a women’s rights lawyer. A pioneer of the women’s movement, she has worked consistently on issues of gender and law reforms. As co-founder of MAJLIS, a legal and cultural resource centre, her primary engagement has been to provide quality legal services to women and children.

She has played an important role in bringing women's rights to the forefront within the legal system and in contextualizing issues of gender and identity. A prolific writer, she has provided incisive analysis of many social trends and legal reforms including domestic violence, minority law reforms, secularism and human rights. Significant among her many publications is her autobiographical book `My Story Our Story ... Of Rebuilding Broken Lives’ which has been translated into several languages. Other publications included `Law & Gender Inequality – The Politics of Personal Laws in India’ and an Omnibus, ‘Women and Law’ (co-edit) both published by Oxford University Press
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Ruchira Gupta

Ruchira Gupta is the founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a grassroots organization in India working to end sex trafficking by increasing choices for at-risk girls and women. She has strived over her 25-year career to highlight the link between trafficking and prostitution laws and to lobby policymakers to shift the blame from victims to perpetrators. She testified in the United States Senate before the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000. She also lobbied with other activists at the United Nations during the formulations for the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which resulted in the first U.N. instrument to address demand for trafficking — Article 9.

In 2009 Gupta won the Clinton Global Citizen Award and in 2007 the Abolitionist Award at the U.K. House of Lords. In 2008 and 2009, Gupta addressed the U.N. General Assembly on human trafficking. She won an Emmy in 1997 for her work on the documentary The Selling of Innocents, which inspired the creation of Apne Aap. Her work has been featured in 11 books, including Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof.

Prior to founding Apne Aap, Gupta worked in the U.N. in various capacities in 12 countries for over ten years. She is on the board of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and on the advisory councils of the Polaris Project, Vital Voices, Ricky Martin Foundation, Asia Society, Nomi Network and Cents of Relief.

Meera Bhatia

Meera Bhatia is a practicing advocate before Supreme Court and High Court. She has served as the Vice President, and until recently served as the secretary of Harvard Club of India. Presently, she is an Executive Member of Harvard Club of India. Currently, she is the counsel assisting the court on conduct of police with rape victims, as part of the Public Interest Litigation which is monitoring the Nirhaya Case before the Delhi High Court.

Saroj Yadav

Professor, Department of Education in Social Sciences And Humanities [DESSH], National Council Of Educational Research And Training

Smriti Minocha

Smriti Minocha is the Director of the Women Justice Initiative at the Human RIghts Law Network. She is a human rights activists with experience in promoting human rights and social inclusion of discriminated communities and individuals. Smriti has been involved in a number of campaigns across the coutry and organised various national and international level consultations. Her work focuses on gender based violence and represents women who are victims of such violence. She works on advocacy efforts related to the protection of women from such violence. She undertakes trainings to ensure that women from lower socio economic groups better understand their rights under the Indian law. She assists institutions and organisations to make their workplace friendlier to women by helping them develop clear policies on sexual harrasment and training their employees on what constitute to harrasment. She has been appointed as a support person for various cases of child sexual abuse by the Child Welfare Committees. She believes that the change can be bought by working with the people at ground level.

Shazia Ilmi

Shazia Ilmi (Hindi: शाजिया इल्मी ) is an Indian Politician and social activist.She was a noted Tv-Journalist and Tv-anchor in Star News,before joining social and political activites.[1] She was the leading spokesperson for the India Against Corruption movement led by the veteran Activist Anna Hazare in 2011 and 2012.[2] She led a vibrant and highly visible media campaign for an anti-corruption bill (to institute an Ombudsman popularly known as Jan Lokpal Bill) which captured the imagination of millions of Indians and became a widespread protest across the nation.She is National executive member of Aam Aadmi Party . She has been declared AAP candidate from R K Puram constituency for upcoming Delhi Vidhan Sabha 2013 elections by Aam Aadmi Party

Justice (Retired) Leila Seth

Leila Seth retired as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh in 1992, was appointed in 1995 as the one-member commission to examine the death in custody of Rajan Pillai, and from 1997 to 2000 was a member of the 15th Law Commission of India. She does arbitration work and is involved in human rights activities. She lives in Noida with her husband Premo, son Shantum, daughter-in-law Gitanjali and granddaughter Nandini.

Mamta Sharma

Smt. Mamta Sharma took over charge as the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women w.e.f 2nd August, 2011.

Belonging to an illustrious political family and being a proud daughter of an ardent patriot Shri Dharlal Devta, who took active part in the freedom struggle and laid down his life in the fight for freedom of India, Smt, Sharma had also joined active politics in 1985 and was nominated as the Executive member of Rajasthan Red Cross Society in the following year in 1986 and later became the General Secretary of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee and led many movements for the welfare of the down-trodden and weaker sections of the society in the State of Rajasthan.
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Dr. Jaya

Dr. Jaya is a Senior Program Officer, Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health at United Nations Population Fund’s, Delhi office (2008 onwards). She earned a masters (2000-01) and doctorate in public health (2001-05) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Jaya trained as a physician (1986-91) at Delhi University and has a post graduate diploma in community health administration (1994-96) also from Delhi University.
She is interested in studying transitions to adulthood from both a physiological and sociological perspective to enable young people to respond to real life situations effectively. Over the next few years, Jaya would like to contribute towards generating and consolidating the evidence from existing pilots and programs to strengthen the agenda of youth-friendly research, programs and policies in India.

Rebecca Reichmann Tavares

A citizen of U.S.A., Rebecca Reichmann Tavares brings with her a wealth of experience to her position as Representative of UN Women’s India Multi-Country Office. She has served since 2009 as Representative and Regional Programme Director of UN Women’s Officer for Brazil and Southern Cone. Previously, Dr. Reichmann Tavares was Executive Vice President of Tavares Associates, an international consulting firm. She helped to found and was Executive Vice President of the New Americans Museum in San Diego, and served as Vice President, Programs at the San Diego Foundation in California. Following the transition to democracy in Brazil, Dr. Reichmann Tavares lived in Rio de Janeiro for eight years where she was a Program Officer with the Ford Foundation’s Rights and Social Justice Program. Before joining the Ford Foundation, Dr. Reichmann Tavares was Director of Training, Research and Evaluation for ACCION International, a global microfinance organization. A native of Southern California, Dr. Reichmann Tavares graduated from Yale University and holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has published several books, monographs and articles on race relations in Brazil, women’s rights, and microfinance in Latin America. Read more


Advocate & Equality Consultant

As a pioneer in establishing the prevention of sexual harassment at all workplaces, Naina Kapur framed and acted as lead instructing counsel before the Supreme Court of India in 1997 which resulted in legally binding directions on workplace sexual harassment. Considered a landmark judgement in national and international jurisprudence. Vishaka v State of Rajasthan has been recognised as a leap in domestic application of International law and gender equality in India. She has been actively advising on proposed legislation on sexual harassment.
Naina is passionate about helping workplaces and institutions arrive at safe, healthy and inclusive options through enabling and skilful compliance with the Vishaka law. Her extensive work with equality and non-discrimination have benefitted clients who have companies in accountancy, software, banking, telecommunications, hotels, transportation, civil society, paint, finance and education. They also include professionals, individuals and government sector departments.
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Prof. Parvin Sinclair, director of the National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT). An alumna of IIT-Kanpur and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, Prof. Sinclair acquired three decades of academic and teaching experience with TIFR and IGNOU, Delhi before taking charge as director of NCERT in January this year.Read more


Elizabeth Mehta is an accomplished educationist, with decades of experience in school level education, which included extensive work in the interiors of India, designing schools, managing them and the development of more child-centred curricula. She has also conducted classroom-based pedagogical research, and has participated in several international conferences and study tours.Read more


Ved Marwah is a former Governor of Manipur and Jharkhand with additional charge of Mizoram and Bihar; Advisor to the Gov. of Jammu and Kashmir;Convener Internal Security of the National Security Council Advisory Board; Special Secretary, Internal Security, Union Ministry of Home Affairs; Director General, National Security Guard; the Commissioner of Police Delhi, Joint Secretary, National Police Commission, First Secretary, High Commission of India, London; and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Calcutta.. He has served in various capacities in all the worst terrorism-affected states in India in various capacities. Read more


Colin Gonsalves is the Founder of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), India’s leading public interest law group. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mr. Gonsalves started his professional life as a civil engineer but was drawn into the field of law through his work with the unions in Bombay. He commenced formal legal study in 1979 and litigated his first case, while still in law school, on behalf of 5,000 workers locked out of their jobs.Read more


Gopal Subramaniam did his BA in English Literature in 1977 and LLB in 1980 from the University of Delhi. Beginning hiscareer in 1980-81, Subramaniam was appointed Standing Counsel for the Union of India in the Supreme Court in 1983 and a decade later, i.e. in 1993, hewas nominated suo motu and designated by the Supreme Court as SeniorAdvocate. He was appointed as the Additional Solicitor General for India in 2005 and held the post till May 2009. He was appointed Solicitor-General for India in June 2009. Subramaniam is also the current Chairman of Bar Council of India andAdviser to the National Human Rights Commission.Read more


Sorabjee is a renowned human rights lawyer. He was appointed by the UN as a Special Rapporteur for Nigeria, in 1997, to report on the human rights situation in that country. Following this, he become a member and later Chairman of the UN-Sub Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, from 1998 to 2004. He is a member of the United Nations Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities since 1998. He has also served as member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague from 2000 to 2006.Read more


Kalpana Sharma is an independent journalist and columnist based in Mumbai, India. She has worked with leading Indian newspapers including Indian Express, Times of India and The Hindu, where she was Deputy Editor and Chief of Bureau in Mumbai. She writes a regular column from a gender perspective in The Hindu title 'The Other Half'. She is the author of Rediscovering Dharavi: Stories from Asia's Largest Slum and has co-edited with Ammu Joseph, Whose News? The Media and Women's Issues and Terror Counter Terror: Women Speak out. She has edited Missing: Half the Story, Journalism as if Gender Matters. Read more

Aparna Viswanathan

Bar at Law; Founder, Viswanathan & Co, Advocates

Aparna Viswanathan received her Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree from Harvard University and her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Michigan Law School. She is called to the Bar in England (of Lincoln’s Inn) as well as in New York, Washington D.C., California and India. She is fluent in French, Spanish and Italian and advises clients in these languages. After practicing law for five years with large firms in New York City, Los Angeles, in 1995, Ms. Viswanathan founded Viswanathan & Co, Advocates, a firm which now has offices in New Delhi and Bangalore. Since then, she has advised over 100 major multinational companies doing business in India and also argues cases before several High Courts in India, the Supreme Court of India.

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Diane L. Rosenfeld

Lecturer on Law and Director of the Gender Violence Program, Harvard Law School

Diane L. Rosenfeld is a Lecturer on Law and Director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School. She teaches courses on Title IX; Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice; and Theories of Sexual Coercion. In addition to teaching, she directs the Gender Violence Program and supervises students in conducting cutting edge legal policy analysis on issues such as prevention of domestic violence homicide; addressing campus sexual assault; and new law enforcement approaches to address sex trafficking.

Jacqueline Bhabha

Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Director of Research FXB Center

From 1997 to 2001, she directed the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago. Prior to 1997, she was a practicing human rights lawyer in London and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. She received a first class honors degree and an M.Sc. from Oxford University, and a J.D. from the College of Law in London. Bhabha lectures on public policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
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