In this week’s Wednesday 5: Judge Diane J. Humetewa is breaking ground for Native American women; we celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Mariska Hargitay’s real-life support for sexual assault survivors; Middle Eastern photographers reframe how we view women in the Muslim world; and one woman’s year-long documentation of her fight with breast cancer. 



First Native American Woman Is Nominated for Federal Judgeship

72 dpi Diane HumetewaSoon, we might have another first to celebrate—the first Native American woman to serve as a federal judge. Diane J. Humetewa, a member of the Hopi tribe and former U.S. attorney in Arizona, has been nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the district of Arizona as a federal judge. Maribel Hermosillo of Policymic tells us that “If confirmed, she would be the first active member of a Native American reservation, and first Native American woman to serve as a federal judge. Not only would this bring more diversity to the federal bench, but Arizona’s prominent Native community will finally be represented in a state that is infamous for ignoring Native issues.”

Native Americans constitute approximately 5.2 million citizens in the United States. Yet, in our nation’s history, only 23 Native Americans have served in an elected office. If she is confirmed, Humetewa would only be the third Native American represented on the federal bench in the history of the United States



Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Breaking Legal Ground for Women

400px-Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg_official_SCOTUS_portraitSpeaking of incredible women on the bench, we share with you the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, on In the feature, she shares about breaking legal ground for women, her first case before the Supreme Court, and her husband’s support. She also lets us in on one of the more valuable pieces of advice she’s gotten. It came from her mother-in-law on her wedding day (accompanied by a packet of earplugs): “Every now and then it helps to be a little deaf . . . That advice has stood me in good stead. Not simply in dealing with my marriage, but in dealing with my colleagues.”

Click here to watch the series of vignettes on Ginsburg where she goes into detail about her thoughts on dealing with the early career years of rejection from law firms because she is a woman, the state of women on the bench, choosing the law, and taking care of an ill husband while going to law school.



Mariska Hargitay and Her Real Life Support for Sexual Assault Survivors

439px-Mariska_Hargitay_2011She may play a woman of the law on television, but Mariska Hargitay (known to television audiences as Detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order: SVU) has been a long-time advocate for anti-violence campaigns. She is the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which works to support sexual assault survivors. featured Hargitay for the Feministing Five feature in which they asked her how her acting career has influenced her anti-gender violence activism:

“When I first did research for my role on SVU, I couldn’t believe the stats I was finding. Then the letters started coming to me from viewers. First a few, then more, then hundreds, and thousands since then. The women and men writing the letters didn’t ask for an autograph or a headshot. They disclosed their stories of abuse. I held in my hands the stories behind the statistics that I had learned. And they just made a very deep impression on me.

“The Joyful Heart Foundation was my answer, which I started in 2004. We’ve raised more than 14 million dollars in private funds, directly served over 13,000 survivors and the professionals who care for them, and connected with over a million individuals through education and awareness initiatives.”

Read the full interview here at The Feministing Five: Mariska Hargitay.



No Longer Behind the Veil

If you’re in Boston, we have a treat for you. “She Who Tells a Story,” an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, features the work of twelve contemporary female photographers and filmmakers from the Middle East.  The Economist says of the exhibition, “These photos reveal some of the humanity behind the headlines. And they defy conventional assumptions that women lack a voice in the Muslim world.” It is the first time these artists have been shown together in a U.S. museum. In the video below, Curator Kristen Gresh introduces the exhibition and talks about how these  powerful female voices from today’s Middle East address social and political issues from the artist’s point of view.

She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World



What Having Cancer Looks Like

For this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you the one-year journey of a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. When she started chemo, she also started taking a picture of herself every week and fused the images into a one-minute time-lapse video, which strings together self-portraits during her yearlong treatment. She writes on her blog, “I’m still not completely sure why I took these photos. At first it had to do with documenting the hair saga. But it wound up becoming about something else, too.”





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  • Alex October 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Mariska is so beautiful. Inside and outside.

  • patricia yarberry allen October 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for introducing us to these inspiring stories.