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Breaking Barriers, Building Futures: Addressing Gender-based Violence in the African Context

March 7, 2024

2:30 pm - 5:30 pm

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Milstein East A

Join us for a compelling public lecture on the complexities of gender-based violence by Her Excellency Dr. Fatima Maada Bio, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Gender-based violence remains a critical issue affecting individuals, families, and communities globally, but it presents unique challenges in African societies. In her public lecture, Her Excellency will share insights, experiences, and strategies for effectively addressing this pressing issue in the African context. The lecture will be followed by a fireside chat with Professor Diane L. Rosenfeld, the Founding Director of the HLS Gender Violence Program. The fireside chat will provide an opportunity for open dialogue and will feature a Q&A session, allowing attendees to actively participate and contribute to the discussion.

This event is open to members of the public. Please note that space is limited, and registration is required. Register here.

About Her Excellency Dr. Fatima Maada Bio:

Her Excellency Dr. Fatima Maada Bio is a human rights activist, writer, and artist currently serving as the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone. She is a leading campaigner for women’s empowerment, public health, and social development on the African continent. She has been a vocal advocate for women, girls, and gender equality issues at all levels – from the grassroots to the United Nations (UN). Her flagship “Hands Off Our Girls” initiative has reduced sexual and gender-based violence, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and child trafficking in Sierra Leone and other countries. She has also conceptualized and implemented initiatives to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and cancer, enhance access to justice, and ensure the availability of free sanitary pads among school children. Recently, Dr. Bio’s passion for improved healthcare outcomes motivated her to lead the transformation of the “34 Military Hospital” in Freetown from a 70-bed medical facility to a 600-bed multi-purpose hospital complex, with a Centre of Excellence dedicated to the care for the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. In 2023, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) appointed Dr. Bio the Champion for Adolescent Girls and Young Women.

About Professor Diane L. Rosenfeld:

Professor Diane L. Rosenfeld is the Founding Director of the HLS Gender Violence Program and a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, where she teaches courses on Title IX; Gender Violence, Law, and Social Justice; Theories of Sexual Coercion; and Child Exploitation, Pornography, and the Internet. She has also taught many reading groups, including Feminist Utopias, The Bonobo Sisterhood, Feminist Jurisprudence and the Common Law, and Prostitution. Her research areas include Title IX and campus sexual assault prevention and response, prevention of intimate partner homicide, and addressing commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls. Her current focus is on creating a bonobo-inspired sisterhood among women to overcome patriarchal violence. She is the author of The Bonobo Sisterhood: Revolution Through Female Alliance (HarperCollins 2022). 

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March 7, 2024, 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm

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