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New Publication- Intersectionality and Women’s Access to Justice in Africa


Press Release

21 October 2022

With much delight, we announce the publication of the edited book ‘Intersectionality and Women's Access to Justice in Africa’ by J. Jarpa Dawuni, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for African Women in Law, and Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University.

The book propounds layered intersectionality as a paradigm for examining how gendered factors affect women’s access to justice – whether as judges or litigants. Through intersectional and decolonial frameworks, an analysis of the lived experiences of women and their access to justice is made by situating the courtroom as both a spatial and a temporal arena for seeking justice (as litigants) or seeking access to the bench (as judges).

This is a pioneer study that brings women as judges and as litigants into conversation with one another and provides recommendations on creating equitable systems to address women’s individual and collective struggles. The book examines patterns of mutually reinforcing discriminatory practices that women share based on common gender identities and depending on which identities are at play, at a given point in time, It also provides recommendations for various justice sector providers. The book has received endorsements from renowned jurists and leaders in law.

"A truly significant publication that engages with critical questions of how intersectional categories impede women’s access to justice in Africa. The book is timely, coming at a point when women in Africa are increasingly taking up leading positions in society and interacting extensively with the law, not only as litigants but also as members and leaders of the judiciary, an all-important institution. This work is a must-read for the judiciary, advocates for women’s access to justice, and the legal profession as a whole."

Yvonne Mokgoro, Former Justice of the Constitutional Court, Republic of South Africa

"This book sums up the impediments women face in accessing justice by cleverly adopting an intersectional approach that combines historical and empirical analyses to weave a narrative that is both compelling and theoretically grounded. In yet another novel research output, J. Jarpa Dawuni has crafted a masterpiece that contributes to our knowledge about women and law across Africa. By traversing different countries, legal systems and traditions, Intersectionality and Women’s Access to Justice in Africa is an important resource for lawyers, judicial officers, political leaders, policy makers, and women’s rights advocates. A useful resource for advocacy on women’s rights and women’s representation in law."

Florence N. M. Mumba, International Judge, Supreme Court Chamber, ECCC

"This book explores women’s access to the justice system as judges and as litigants. This is a pioneering work that looks at women as insiders and as outsiders in the justice system. It shows that irrespective of their positionality as insiders or outsiders, women face intersecting challenges in their efforts to navigate and access justice systems. This book departs from the common essentialist portrayal of women as a monolithic group. It recognizes the fact women in any category and within each category, face intersecting layers of simultaneous privilege and discrimination. This is a rich, thoughtful, and diverse compendium of chapters examining a multiplicity of core issues at the center of gender equality and access to justice. It is an instructive and rich comparative study of gender in the justice system. This is an important and immensely valuable book."

Muna Ndulo, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law at Cornell Law School

Find more details about the book including purchase information here.


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