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Gender-Related Judicial Integrity Issues

This inquiry into gender-related judicial integrity issues occurs at a time when new attention is being focused on the role that power and gender play in the workplace. The #MeToo movement has given voice to women who have experienced a range of sexual misconduct at the hands of men in positions of power. The extent of the problem has long been masked by reluctance to confront those who wield such power and by failure to address the organizational culture that allows such conduct to continue with impunity.

Paper on Gender-Related Judicial Integrity Issues

 

With the Declaration in mind, the Advisory Board of the Global Judicial Integrity Network developed the Network's 2018-2019 workplan and decided to use the potential of the Network to raise awareness among judges and judiciaries about particular integrity challenges, including gender-related integrity issues, such as sextortion and sexual harassment. To this end, the Advisory Board envisaged the development of a dedicated issue paper on existing practices, cases, and experiences in training and accountability, as well as expert consultations in the context of the Network.

In December 2018, an expert group meeting was organized with the aims of: ( i) discussing a first draft of the issue paper drafted by UNODC's expert consultant; ( ii) gathering additional cases and resources, with a view not only to enriching the issue paper, but also to disseminating the resources through the Network's online library and other channels; and ( iii) making recommendations on how to develop national and regional standards on gender-related judicial integrity issues and, in particular, how the Global Judicial Integrity Network could assist judiciaries in this endeavour.

The present issue paper aims to examine the ways in which gender-related issues may affect judicial integrity and the adequacy of existing safeguards in promoting appropriate conduct and taking corrective action with respect to inappropriate conduct. That inquiry begins with consideration of the term "gender-related integrity issues" and the ways in which gender plays a role in the integrity of judicial conduct and decision-making, court administration, and public perceptions of the judiciary.

Gender-related judicial integrity issues take many forms, including sextortion, sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, gender bias, unequal gender representation, gender stereotyping, or inappropriate sexual conduct. While some gender-related conduct might be seen as more offensive or egregious than other conduct, none of it is compatible with the principles of judicial ethics. Judges are expected to set an example for the rest of society and are held to a higher standard of conduct that is defined, not by what is lawful or intentional, but also by what is ethical. Lawful conduct may still lack integrity and undermine public trust and confidence in the judiciary. Conduct that reflects lack of knowledge or unconscious bias may still be inappropriate, unfair, and harmful.

 

Advancing justice - and gender equality - through the Global Judicial Integrity Network
#HeForShe

According to a 2011 report by UN Women, only 23% of judges worldwide are women. Learn more about the #HeForShe movement and how to advocate for gender equality in the judiciary.

 

Advancing justice - and gender equality - through the Global Judicial Integrity Network
Women's Access to Justice

Justice Judith Jones, a Supreme Court Justice in Trinidad and Tobago, is interviewed by Roberta Solis of the Global Judicial Integrity Network on equal access to the judiciary, including methods to improve public confidence in the judiciary for domestic violence survivors.

Preventing Gender Bias in the Judiciary

Ugandan Supreme Court Judge Lilian Tibatemwa speaks with the Global Judicial Integrity Network on how to recognize and prevent gender bias in the judiciary, including how to assess judges' unconscious biases. 

 

'Views' Opinion Pieces

The Role of Women Judges and a Gender Perspective in Ensuring Judicial Independence and Integrity

Judge Vanessa Ruiz, President of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), discusses the equal representation of women in the judiciary and the benefits of a gendered perspective.

 

The Judiciary Is Not Immune from Bullying and Sexual Harassment 

Kieran Pender of the International Bar Association describes the status of sexual harassment and bullying in the legal profession and suggests how judiciaries can ameliorate these concerns.