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Unveiling Subalternity: Women and the Legal Professions Across Africa

The Institute for African Women in Law (IAWL) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is organizing a 3-day webinar series from July 29-31, 2020 on the subject of women lawyers across Africa.

Date: July 29-31 2020

Time (each day): 9am Eastern Time-US/: 1pm GMT/Gh: 2pm GMT+1/Lagos: 3pm SAT/Johannesburg: 4pm EAT/Nairobi

Place: Click to Join Microsoft Teams Meeting ( You can join via web browser or the app)

Wednesday, July 29: Conditioned to Silence? Gender-Based Discrimination in the Legal Profession

Thursday, July 30: Shifting the Burden of Care: The Role of Law Firms

Friday, July 31: Women in Law and Leadership



In 1933, Stella Marke (neé Thomas) made history as the first Nigerian woman called to the (English) Bar in all of British West Africa. Since then, women have made progress in attending law school and entering the legal professions. Emerging research shows the incremental progress women have made as judges across Africa, as documented in a pioneering volume, Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From Obscurity to Parity (Dawuni and Bauer, Routledge, 2016). African women have also made remarkable progress as judges in international courts as captured in International Courts and the African Woman Judge: Unveiled Narratives (Dawuni and Kuenyehia, Routledge, 2018).

While research on women judges across Africa is slowly growing, little remains know about women as lawyers. Globally, there is a growing feminization of the legal professions as a record number of women are attending and completing law schools. How have women lawyers across Africa experiencing their positionality in a profession once considered to be the sole preserve of men? Is the legal profession gender neutral? How do women lawyers negotiate the multilayered and intersecting power hierarchies? How have women broken professional barriers and risen to important leadership positions? This 3-day webinar will help us unveil and contextualize the positionality of women in the legal professions across Africa as we discuss women lawyers—the challenges, contributions and leadership roles.


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