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Advancing Women in the Judiciary

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

A High-level side event on the occasion of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women
March 12, 2024

Excellencies, Honourable Women Judges, colleagues and friends,

It is my pleasure to join you to celebrate International Women Judges Day.

My thanks to Qatar, Indonesia, Morocco, Türkiye, and Saudi Arabia for bringing us together today.

As the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law to advance peace and sustainable development, IDLO works to champion justice for women and girls through its research, programming and policy advocacy.

Our four decades of experience have shown that gender-responsive laws and policies, trusted and inclusive institutions, and effective and accountable judiciaries are preconditions for gender equality.

A key factor is the equal representation of women in the judiciary.

And I would go beyond that – leadership of women in the judiciary is essential to accelerate gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Women judges bring a diversity of experience that helps ground the administration of justice in women’s lived reality.

Across all regions we see women at the forefront of protecting the rights of women, children, the indigenous, the poor and the marginalized.

Women judges have delivered groundbreaking decisions, transforming the way justice systems treat cases of gender-based violence, forced marriage and children’s rights.

Yet, we know that gender parity in the judiciary remains a distant goal, nationally and globally.

The International Court of Justice has had just 5 women judges in its history, compared to 106 men.

We all need to address the patriarchy, the cultural norms, stereotypes, and lack of transparency in recruitment and promotion processes that hold back progress.

We need to listen to the challenges – I am so much looking forward to hearing the experiences of our amazing panel – and to share best practices and solutions.

And we need to work to bridge the gender gap throughout the justice sector.

IDLO supports capacity building for women at all levels, including women in law enforcement, female legal professionals, paralegals, and women adjudicators in customary and informal justice systems.

Finally, partnerships are vital for transforming justice systems – we need strong multistakeholder, whole of society coalitions which include men and boys.

I would like to thank UN Women and the International Association of Women Judges for our longstanding partnerships. IDLO looks forward to continuing to work with all of you to make our equality commitments a tangible reality.