AMANDLA! TheVanguard Edition

Maria do Céu Monteiro

Maria do Céu Monteiro

Co-chair: Coordination of the Technical Commission for the Revision of the Constitution (2020-).

International Judge of the Court of Justice of the Community of West African States (2014-2018). President of the same Court for the Biennium (2014 2016).

President of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Superior Council of the Judiciary of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, (2004-2013).

My Story, Your Inspiration

As a young girl growing up, I was torn between pursuing a career in medicine or law; the latter won because I did not have the capacity to handle mathematics. After much work, I secured a scholarship to study in Portugal after working my way through high school teaching younger students. By the time I finished high school, I was among the youngest, on the Honor Roll, and with two years of patriotic service to my nation through my teaching preparatory school students. I was awarded the scholarship to study in Portugal for a law degree from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra. Later, I entered the Center for Judicial Studies in Lisbon - C.E.J, for a postgraduate degree in Judicial Magistracy.

Throughout my career, I have occupied many positions. As the first woman judge, the first woman on the Supreme Court of Guinea, and the first Lusophone woman judge to serve on the ECOWAS Court of Justice. I inherited from my mother, the ethic of hard work, to be responsible to my true self and stick to my word. She encouraged me to be resilient and independent, to think, act and decide on my own, and to make my voice heard.

My words of encouragement for other women in law, is that women must work collaboratively and in parallel with men, to establish through positive and concrete attitudes, the right to equality, to produce transformations in the old discriminatory policies that consciously and systematically exclude women from public life and from social development. Women in law should continue their pursuit of hard work, self-training, and continuing education.