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Women in the Judiciary: A Stepping Stone towards Gender Justice

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The limited presence of women in the judicial branches of Arab States is attracting increasing attention as an obstacle to the development of representative institutions and the achievement of gender justice. In recent years, Arab States have taken steps to respond to this challenge, appointing an increasing number of female judges and public prosecutors, where applicable, to the bench (for the first time in some case) and removing barriers to women’s accession to and progression through the ranks of the judiciary. Despite these efforts, women remain, on the whole, starkly underrepresented in Arab judicial institutions.

This policy brief outlines key elements of the normative framework regarding women’s presence in the judiciary, with a focus on equal participation, the role of judicial institutions in achieving gender justice and access to justice. The brief then reviews global and regional evidence demonstrating why women’s presence in the judiciary matters. Finally, the brief presents an overview of the status of women in the judiciary in the Arab region, before offering policy actions to enable Arab States to meet their international commitments.