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Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From Obscurity to Parity?



Bauer, Gretchen & Dawuni, Josephine (eds). 2016. Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From obscurity to parity? New York: Routledge Publishers.


Between 2000 and 2015, women ascended to the top of judiciaries across Africa, most notably as chief justices of supreme courts in common law countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Zambia, but also as presidents of constitutional courts in civil law countries such as Benin, Burundi, Gabon, Niger and Senegal. Most of these appointments was a "first" in terms of the gender of the chief justice. At the same time, women are being appointed in record numbers as magistrates, judges and justices across the continent. While women’s increasing numbers and roles in African executives and legislatures have been addressed in a burgeoning scholarly literature, very little work has focused on women in judiciaries.


This book addresses the important issue of the increasing numbers and varied roles of women judges and justices, as judiciaries evolve across the continent.Scholars of law, gender politics and African politics provide overviews of recent developments in gender and the judiciary in nine African countries that represent north, east, southern and west Africa as well as a range of colonial experiences, postcolonial trajectories and legal systems, including mixes of common, civil, customary, or sharia law. Timely and relevant in this era in which governmental accountability and transparency are essential to the consolidation of democracy in Africa and when women are acce