Program Officer, Women's & Girls' Rights
Kate Kelly joined Equality Now in June 2018. During her legal career Kate has had many opportunities including working as an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, a law clerk at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a research assistant to the Chair of the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland, and a fellow at the Women’s Refugee Commission. She has experience as an attorney through her work at the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights and was a legal advisor for Legal Action Worldwide, where she worked on sexual violence legislation in Somalia. Kate has litigated before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and consulted on the United Nations High Commission on Refugees report titled “Women on the Run.” Her career has involved extensive work on human rights and women’s rights, including roles as Strategic Advocacy & Policy Counsel at Planned Parenthood and Legal Fellow for the Human Rights in the US Project at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute. Kate graduated cum laude with a J.D. degree from American University Washington College of Law.
Kate believes that women’s rights are human rights and that legal advocacy is crucial to gender equality, because in many places women cannot rely on community leaders or even their families to respect their rights. Having been raised in a conservative religious community where women and girls are treated as less-than, she is inspired by women who speak up in their own communities to claim their rights and voice. Her hero is Mona Eltahawy‐a Muslim feminist, journalist, activist, and author who inspires Kate to be more brave and bold, and to hold space for women from conservative traditions with nuance and grace. One of her favorite quotes is by author and CEO Kobi Yamada: “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”
When she is not working or getting involved in grassroots feminist activism, Kate enjoys vintage fashion, collecting wax-print fabric, and watching Project Runway and RuPaul’s Drag Race.