NYU Law Fellow Ayisha Siddiqa named one of Time magazine’s Women of the Year

Ayisha Siddiqa, a human rights and environmental justice activist and a youth fellow with the Law School’s Climate Litigation Accelerator (CLX), was named one of Time magazine’s 2023 Women of the Year on March 2.

The award was given to twelve women who are “using their voices to fight for a more equal world,” says Time.

Siddiqa, who is 24 years old, is a co-founder of Polluters Out, a global youth climate advocacy group, as well as a climate activism training course called Fossil Free University. She is the inaugural youth fellow for CLX, a global hub of lawyers and advocates seeking to catalyze legal change to produce action against climate change. CLX is run jointly by the Earth Rights Advocacy Clinic, directed by Professor of Clinical Law César Rodríguez-Garavito, and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, which Rodríguez-Garavito chairs.

The youth fellowship program began in 2022 to support and mentor promising young climate leaders who, like Siddiqa, are interested in pursuing a legal degree in the future. It also provides legal training in areas such as international negotiation and litigation.

“We see intergenerational collaboration as key to making progress against climate inaction,” says Rodríguez-Garavito, who says that Siddiqa has contributed to CLX’s communication strategies since joining in 2022. “Working with Ayisha’s generation as well as with young lawyers–many of whom are NYU Law alumni and are now full-time CLX staff members–we have seen a potency in that kind of collaboration,” he says. “We have learned as much from the youth movement as they have learned from us.”

Siddiqa, who was born in Pakistan, recounted to Time that as a teenager she began to see the impact that unsafe environments have on communities after witnessing the illness and death of her grandparents due to unsafe drinking water. Eventually, she said, she came to see the deep connections between climate change and human rights. In a video on Time’s website, announcing Siddiqa’s selection, she notes the importance of working collectively and globally to reverse the effects of climate change. “We cannot be individualistic anymore. It will not work,” she said. Siddiqa will continue on as a fellow with CLX until 2024, when she plans to start her legal studies.

Posted March 8, 2023.