March 10- International Day of Women Judges

2 Minutes


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.

Some Facts

– Forty percent of judges were women in 2017, which is 35% more than in 2008.

– In 1946, Eleanor Roosevelt famously penned an “open letter to the women of the world,” urging their increased involvement in national and international affairs.

– In most European countries, there are more women than men professional judges or magistrates; however, women represent 41% of the judges in national supreme courts and only 25% of court presidents.

Justice with a gender perspective

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 at 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.

Join us in celebrating this first annual International Day of Women Judges to promote the full and equal participation of women at all levels of the judiciary, celebrate the progress that has been made, and raise awareness about the challenges ahead!

Resources for more Information

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