Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Rebecca Mae Salokar; Mary L. Volcansek | Go to book overview

HELEN SUZMAN (1917–)

Helen Suzman was a member of the South African Parliament for 36 years (1953–1989) during the apartheid era. She was a vigorous opponent of apartheid and a forceful proponent of human rights. For 13 years (1962–1974), she was the only member of the liberal opposition party, the Progressive party, to be elected to the all-white Parliament. During this time, Suzman waged a solitary battle within Parliament against discriminatory race laws and repressive security laws. At a time when blacks were denied representation in Parliament or in government, she was regarded as the voice of the millions of disenfranchised black South Africans. Although not a lawyer by profession, Helen Suzman laid the foundations for a rights culture in South Africa by her courageous advocacy of human rights during the bleak apartheid years.


FAMILY BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION

Helen Gavronsky was born on November 7, 1917, in Germiston, a town ten miles southeast of Johannesburg. Her parents were Samuel Gavronsky, a Lithuanian Jew, who had immigrated to South Africa in 1904, and Frieda David, the daughter of another Lithuanian immigrant family. Her mother died two weeks after she was born. When Helen was five, Samuel Gavronsky moved the family, Helen and her sister, Gertrude, to Johannesburg. In 1927, her father remarried.

Helen attended school at the Parktown Convent in Johannesburg. At the age of 16, she went to the University of the Witwatersrand where she studied for the degree of Bachelor of Commerce, with the intention of later proceeding to a postgraduate degree in law. Her university career was academically unsuccessful, and she did not graduate.

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Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editorial Advisory Board vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Florence Ellinwood Allen (1884–1966) 17
  • Mary Arden (1947–) 25
  • Anita Augsburg (1857–1943) 31
  • Suzanne Bastid-Basdevant (1906–) 34
  • Miriam Ben-Porat (1918–) 38
  • Myra Bradwell (1831–1882) 45
  • Beverly Blair Cook (1927–) 51
  • Irene R. Cortes (1920–) 62
  • Takako Doi (1928–) 68
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–) 78
  • Brenda Marjorie Hale (1945–) 88
  • Rosalyn Higgins (1937–) 94
  • Leonilde Iotti (1920–) 101
  • Barbara Charline Jordan (1936–1996) 112
  • Sylvie Kanigi (1953–) 118
  • Carrie Burnham Kilgore (1838–1909) 123
  • Helen Kinnear (1894–1970) 129
  • Claire L’Heureux-DubÉ (1927–) 136
  • Jutta Limbach (1934–) 144
  • Burnita Shelton Matthews (1894–1988) 150
  • Beverley McIachlin (1943–) 159
  • Soia Mentschikoff (1915–1984) 171
  • Constance Baker Motley (1921–) 180
  • Emily Ferguson Murphy (1868–1933) 190
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1938–) 202
  • Sandra Day O’Connor (1930–) 210
  • Sadako Ogata (1927–) 219
  • Cecilia MuÑoz Palma (1913–) 231
  • Tamar Pelleg-Sryck (1926–) 237
  • Janet Reno (1938–) 248
  • Mary Robinson (1944–) 257
  • Flerida Ruth P. Romero (193?–) 266
  • Simone RozÈs-Ludwig (1920–) 271
  • Wiltraut Rupp-Von BrÜnneck (1912–1977) 277
  • Helga Seibert (1939–) 283
  • Elisabeth Selbert (1896–1986) 288
  • Margaret a. Somerville (1942–) 292
  • Helene StÖcker (1869–1943) 299
  • Helen Suzman (1917–) 304
  • Leah Tsemel (1945–) 312
  • Agathe Uwilingiyimana (1953–1994) 323
  • Simone Veil-Jacob (1927–) 329
  • Bertha Wilson (1923–) 338
  • Appendix 349
  • Selected Bibliography 353
  • Index 357
  • About the Editors and Contributors 371
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