Women Judges Play a Significant Role to the Quality of Justice

International Day of Women Judges is celebrated on March 10 each year to promote equal and complete participation of women at different levels of the judiciary.

According to the United Nations (UN), gender equality in the judiciary is key to “ensuring that courts represent their citizens, address their concerns and hand down sound judgments”. For related commentary on International Women’s Day, see “ILO experts comment on International Women’s Day 2023”.

Women lawyers across the African continent are proving that assertion by using the law to create a better world for women and girls. Examples are many: challenging child marriages in Tanzania, overturning a ban on pregnant girls in school in Sierra Leone, challenging discriminatory petty offences laws in Malawi and upholding rights for domestic workers in South Africa. When not in the court room, women legal experts are on the streets or in Parliamentarians, championing gender-just laws and policies.

Despite their impact, women in the legal profession continue to face multiple challenges, including being sexually harassed, dismissed, ignored, or ridiculed because of their gender. It is disgraceful that in 2023, more than a century after women were allowed to practice law, they are still dealing with these issues.

A recent report by the International Development law Organization has spotlighted the critical role women play in advancing justice outcomes for women and the numerous barriers they face, especially in advancing to more senior positions and leadership roles.

Women’s representation in the judiciary is key to ensuring that courts represent their citizens, address their concerns and hand down sound judgments. By their mere presence, women judges enhance the legitimacy of courts, sending a powerful signal that they are open and accessible to those who seek recourse to justice.

Women judges contribute far more to justice than improving its appearance: they also contribute significantly to the quality of decision-making, and thus to the quality of justice itself. Women judges throughout the world have earned the necessary credentials, gained accomplishments and otherwise met the standards for judicial selection.

About Charmaine Brown

Charmaine Brown is 27 years old, media personnel. She studied Media and Society Studies (2017-2020) at Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Charmaine had an internship at The Herald and presently is an entertainment journalist for My Afrika Magazine. She currently lives in Harare.

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