Women’s Participation and Leadership in Customary and Informal Justice Systems
The majority of justice seekers worldwide resolve their problems through customary and informal justice (CIJ) systems. Women constitute the largest group of users of CIJ systems for diverse reasons and rely on them for resolution of their justice problems. Women are not only users of CIJ systems, but also providers of justice within those systems. Women’s participation and leadership in CIJ systems is widespread, though their various roles and contributions are often under-recognised.
The fifth publication in the series Navigating Complex Pathways to Justice, IDLO’s issue brief Women’s Participation and Leadership in CIJ Systems, is the result of new research conducted by IDLO with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The issue brief highlights:
- The barriers to women’s participation and leadership in CIJ systems;
- Roles of women as justice providers, administrators, and changemakers in CIJ systems; and
- Pathways to increasing women’s participation and leadership in CIJ systems.
Building on the findings of the research, it outlines recommendations for policymakers, intended to support strengthening of women’s participation and leadership in CIJ systems:
- Recognise and amplify the important and varied roles that women play as leaders and justice providers in CIJ systems
- Affirm women’s human rights as a significant and critical component of engaging with CIJ systems
- Support women’s movements and protect civic space to increase advocacy for women’s participation and leadership in CIJ systems
- Eliminate discriminatory laws and reform legislation to improve women’s rights, including as justice providers in CIJ systems
- Combat gender-based violence and discrimination against women justice providers in CIJ systems and ensure an enabling environment for their participation
- Strengthen investment in CIJ systems as part of people-centred, gender-responsive justice reforms
- Deepen partnerships and alliances for women’s participation in CIJ systems
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