Gender in the Criminal Justice System

Gender-based discrimination in the criminal justice system creates significant obstacles to achieve access to justice for all.This problem disproportionately affects women, who face still face significant barriers in accessing justice, whether they are victims, witnesses, alleged offenders or prisoners. Criminal justice systems tend to focus on the needs of a predominantly male population of offenders and prisoners, although the global number of women in prison is growing at a faster rate.  

The key challenges range from discriminatory criminal laws and procedures and a lack of gender diversity among criminal justice professionals, to gender bias, stereotyping, stigma and impunity.To effectively address gender-based discrimination against women in conflict with the law, a comprehensive set of targeted interventions are needed to address the obstacles women face throughout the criminal justice chain, in line with the Bangkok Rules and related international standards and norms  

Our Services

  • Promoting gender-responsive non-custodial measures to reduce the unnecessary imprisonment of women through legal reform, capacity building training and awareness-raising;  

  • Strengthening women's access to legal aid though legal and policy advice, capacity building for legal aid institutions and service providers, as well as legal empowerment for women in the community; 

  • Supporting prison administrations to provide for the distinctive needs of women in prison, in order to eliminate discrimination and achieve substantive gender equality, through policy reform, training and social reintegration programmes; 

  • Promoting the equal representation of women in criminal justice institutions, particularly in positions of authority, through policy advice and mentoring. 


For more publications about Gender in Criminal Justice System please visit Tools and publications

A Practitioners Toolkit on Womens Access to Justice Programming
Toolkit on Gender Responsive Non-Custodial Measures
Handbook on Women and Imprisonment - Second Edition

Our Work

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Gender-based discrimination in the criminal justice system is not limited to women.