June 23, 2022
The Institute for African Women in Law held our second Women Experts in Law for Equality and Development (WE LEAD) event in Accra, Ghana on Friday, June 17. WE LEAD is a global network of African women in law with expertise in all areas of the law. Our goal with WE LEAD is to connect African women in law, amplify their work, and create opportunities for leadership.
In collaboration with AB & David, Africa, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, and ENSafrica, we convened women experts in law at Labadi Beach Hotel to socialize, sensitize, and strategize on how we can work collectively to support women in law.
In attendance was a group of remarkable guests coming from various legal positions in Ghana yet united by the vision of WE LEAD to build a community for women in law devoted to using the law as a tool for positive societal change and development.
Mrs. Isabel Boaten, the Managing Partner at AB & David Ghana and IAWL Board member, opened the gathering with some remarks:
...I spent too many years avoiding the light. I could have lit the path for many more people if I had recognized this duty and turned my fear into excitement. I encourage everybody who will lend an ear and who is as accomplished as all of you here to shine. Nurturing and supporting each other is a great way to shine the light on each other to create a galaxy of unstoppable women. I am excited to be here and I look forward to learning from all of you.
IAWL Founder and Executive Director, Prof. J. Jarpa Dawuni, shared the IAWL vision when developing the WE LEAD global network:
My vision for this network is to showcase the wealth of talent African women in law bring to the spaces they occupy. Through this network, we aim to amplify their achievements while addressing challenges that hold women back from leadership. Women in Ghana have always contributed to the development of law and the legal profession; IAWL is poised to accelerate the work and build opportunities for the future of women in law.
Ms. Betty Adu, former Deputy General Counsel at the World Bank and IAWL Board member, discussed the importance of legal networks. Recounting her early days at the World Bank, she emphasized the importance of networking among women and hinted at the importance of broad networks that are inclusive--cutting across gender, race, and discipline. She encouraged lawyers not to stay in their legal silos, but to work with others within their organizations to learn across disciplines. She further noted the importance of male allies. In conclusion, she emphasized that networks such as WE LEAD are a way for everyone to give back and learn from others.
Once serving as a judge of the International Criminal Court, Prof. Akua Kuenyehia is a lawyer, academic, and human rights advocate whose impact can be noted on both the national and international levels. She was awarded for her contribution to legal education, women’s rights, and international law.
Justice Georgina Theodora Wood has etched an unforgettable legacy in Ghana’s judicial and public service. She served as the first woman Chief Justice of Ghana from 2007 to 2017– also becoming the youngest person to occupy the revered appointment. She was awarded for her work in promoting women, and her mentoring efforts. Justice Georgina Mensah-Datse received her award on her behalf.
Dr. Angela Dwamena-Aboagye is a woman who wears many hats – handling all these roles with grace. Among other roles, Dr. Dwamena-Aboagye is an accomplished lawyer, women’s empowerment advocate, Christian theologian, and lecturer, whose work spans various areas including sexual and gender-based violence, women and children’s rights, legislative and policy work, and advocacy. She was awarded for her contribution to women’s rights.
Mrs. Sheila Minkah-Premo’s keen interest in women’s rights has led to pivotal changes to the Ghana Bar in regard to gender equality. Mrs. Minkah-Premo noted the lack of support for women lawyers and spearheaded a key shift with the foundation of the Women’s Forum at the bar. She was awarded for her starting the Women’s Forum of the Ghana Bar, which has now been accepted into the amended constitution of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA).
When it comes to legislative drafting, Mrs. Estelle Appiah’s name and legacy are a mainstay. Mrs. Appiah has drafted legislation on social policy, petroleum, and financial matters – among other topics. She was awarded for her contributions to the public service and legislative drafting.
Mrs. Victoria Barth is making major moves and shows no signs of slowing down. As the managing partner and head of litigation and dispute resolution at Sam Okudzeto & Associates, Mrs. Barth has emerged as a diligent lawyer who employs alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to best serve her clients’ needs. She was awarded for her contributions as a woman in active litigation.
Mrs. Efua Ghartey has shown great resilience in the numerous leadership roles she has held. Mrs. Ghartey’s career focus lies in corporate law, with an emphasis on joint ventures, corporate restructuring, labour and employment, company law, maritime law, and litigation. She was awarded for her effort to balance the gender scale at the national bar.
Ms. Hilary Gbedemah’s name is synonymous with women’s rights activism. Since 2013, Ms. Gbedemah has been a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – serving as the Committee’s chairperson from 2019 to 2021. She was awarded for her contributions as a women’s rights activist at the international level.
We also awarded law firms that have worked to promote gender equality in the legal profession.
Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah is a leading corporate and commercial law firm based in Ghana. Their broad expertise and expertise equip them to serve local and international corporations in all sectors of the economy. They were awarded for their support and promotion of gender equality.
AB & David Africa is a leading law firm serving 24 countries across the African continent. They are committed to minimizing the risks associated with doing business in Africa. They were awarded for their support and promotion of gender equality.
ENSafrica is Africa’s largest law firm – delivering its services to all the major industries across the continent. They were awarded for their support and promotion of gender equality.
The presentation of awards was followed by a vibrant reception for attendees to mingle further: