March 10- International Day of Women Judges

2/5 Min ⏰


While equality in the judiciary has been historically uneven, steps are being taken to remedy this as evidenced by the declaration by the United Nations General Assembly of 10 March as the International Day of Women Judges. The General Assembly resolution, drafted by the State of Qatar, is tangible proof of a positive shift.

Redressing gender inequalities is also at the core of UNODC’s Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and is a goal shared by the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, as it works to promote a culture of lawfulness around the world, providing education and training and supporting the full participation of women in every professional sphere.

What do the statistics say?

  • Forty percent of judges were women in 2017, which is 35 percent more than in 2008.
  • In most European countries, there are more women than men professional judges or magistrates; however, women represent 41 percent of the judges in national supreme courts and only 25 percent of court presidents.

To achieve justice, we need more women in justice.

Despite women’s increased engagement in public life, they remain significantly underrepresented in decision-making positions. In fact, a relatively small number of women have been, or are part of, the judiciary, particularly in senior judicial leadership positions.

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.

The entry of women judges into spaces from which they had historically been excluded has been a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representative of the people whose lives they affect.

By marking the day, we will reaffirm our commitment to develop and implement appropriate and effective national strategies and plans for the advancement of women in judicial justice systems and institutions at the leadership, managerial, and other levels.

Women in the criminal justice system

Women in the criminal justice system can act as agents of change. Diversity and inclusion enrich all institutions and contribute to greater accountability. Women judges bring different perspectives and experiences, strengthening judicial systems. Women in leadership roles help disrupt networks of collusion, striking a blow against corruption. Women’s representation in law enforcement and judicial institutions has been linked to more effective, victim-centered responses to crime.

The number of women and girls coming into contact with the criminal justice system, as victims, witnesses, and prisoners, has increased in the past 20 years. However, greater efforts are still needed to support women to access justice and ensure that criminal justice institutions fully respond to their needs.

By investing in women’s advancement and women’s justice leaders, we can help ensure that justice is better served and that women and all members of our societies are met with fairness and equality before the law, for the benefit of all.

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