Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

The Role of Women in Shaping Justice Systems

Side event organized by the International Development Law Organization, with the support of Global Affairs Canada, and in partnership with Equality Now, American Bar Association and the GQUAL Campaign on the occasion of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Thursday, 21 March 2024
1:15-2:30 pm EST
Conference Room 12, UN Headquarters, New York

Women play a critical role in shaping both formal and informal justice systems, including as judges, parliamentarians, leaders, paralegals and prosecutors. 

Yet a lack of understanding about women's roles, combined with obstacles such as gender stereotypes, patriarchal systems and discrimination, mean that women's advancement in these systems remains limited.

The forthcoming CEDAW General Recommendation No. 40 on Equal and Inclusive Representation of Women in Decision-Making Systems is urgently calling for a paradigm shift. It presents policy-makers and development practitioners with an opportunity to reset the narrative on women’s roles in judicial decision-making by reevaluating and acknowledging the diverse roles women play in decision-making in pluralistic justice systems as well as identifying innovative pathways to accelerate their participation at all levels. 

This discussion seeks to inform the forthcoming recommendation, by shedding light on the diverse roles and contributions of women in shaping justice systems, the barriers they encounter and emerging pathways towards achieving women's equal and effective participation in decision-making. 


Special Remarks

  • María Fernanda Espinosa, Executive Director, GWL Voices and President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly
  • Béatrice Maillé, Legal Adviser and Minister-Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN


  • Lady Justice Jane Frances Abodo, Director of Public Prosecution, Uganda
  • Maude Somah, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Ministry of Justice and National Coordinator of the Gender and Security Sector National Taskforce, Liberia
  • Nalini Singh, Member of Fiji Election Commission and Executive Director, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement
  • Antonia Kirkland, Global Lead for Legal Equality & Access to Justice, Equality Now
  • Renee Dopplick, Deputy Representative for the American Bar Association to the United Nations
  • Alejandra Vicente, Secretariat of the GQUAL Campaign


Rea Abada Chiongson, Senior Legal Advisor on Gender, IDLO

Interactive Discussion


RSVP by Sunday, 17 March 

PLEASE NOTE: RSVP is only required for non-UN Pass holders. Please request a Special Event Pass to attend the event in your RSVP email. 

Learn more about IDLO at CSW68.