March 10, 2022
March 10 has been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of Women Judges based on Resolution A/Res/75/274 passed on April 26 2021. The groundwork for this historic resolution was laid at the 2020 High-level Meeting of the Global Judicial Integrity Network in Doha, Qatar. The rationale behind this resolution is to celebrate the strides women have made in reducing the gender gap in the judiciary, to highlight the challenges they encounter, and further chart new paths to attaining the goal of gender parity in the judiciary worldwide.
Women, especially African women, came into the judicial scene to take up leadership roles later than their male counterparts due to years of exclusion and systemic bias. This has affected the quality of judicial decisions over the years as they have been robbed of the depth, perspectives, and insights of women. The journey of inclusion in Africa began with the likes of Stella Marke (née Thomas) called to the Nigerian bench as the first female Magistrate in 1943. Annie Jiagge (née Baeta) of Ghana (1953), Zaynab abd al-Razzaq of Morocco, (1960), Vera Duarte of Cape Verde (c. 1977) Fatimata Bazeye Salifou of Niger (1979) and Leonora van den Heever of South Africa (1979).
Despite the comparatively recent emergence of African women in the judiciary, there is a surge in African women leaders in judiciaries across the continent. Although many national and international courts such as COMESA Court of Justice, ECOWAS Court of Justice, East African Court of Justice, and the International Court of Justice still struggle to achieve parity, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights achieved gender parity within twelve years of its existence. This feat is worth celebrating. It is also a reminder that the journey ahead is long as such we must not relent but forge forward to attain the much-needed parity.
IAWL stands with women judges in Afghanistan who are being persecuted for being bold enough to sit in judgment over men and delivering justice to women. To the many who have lost their homes, family, jobs, money and live in constant fear, WE STAND WITH YOU and celebrate you for daring to challenge the status quo and break the bias.
IAWL joins women judges worldwide in solidarity to celebrate them for their contributions to the rule of law, justice, and equity. We are rising in leadership!
Watch our video celebrating African women judges from our Legacy Project
We celebrate African women judges today, and every day!
Launch of the Flagship report on women judges in Tanzania
In the latest IAWL flagship report, "The Tanzanian Women Judges Association and the Feminization of the Judiciary," we present a synthesis of the state of women judges in Tanzania. Despite the challenges women judges face, they continue to provide important entry points for the law and promotion of justice for all citizens in Tanzania.