The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) marked the first International Day of Women Judges with a high-level event with UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and Alma Zadić, Minister of Justice of Austria, launching a new “Women in Justice/for Justice” initiative to promote representation and gender-responsive criminal justice.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 75/274 designates 10 March the International Day of Women Judges. The Resolution further notes with appreciation the work of UNODC’s Global Judicial Integrity Network “to incorporate women’s representation issues into judicial systems”.
Ms. Waly welcomed the new international day with a call for action: “Today is a day to recognize the leadership of women judges in the pursuit of justice. It is an opportunity to celebrate champions for diversity and equality in the justice sector, both women and men, and to commit to more determined action to promote laws and institutions that protect and empower every one of us,” she said. “We remember that every woman judge who is helping to uphold the highest standards of the law was once a girl who deserved every opportunity to reach for the stars, and we resolve to leave no one behind.”
Minister Zadić, in her opening remarks, said: “We know from numerous studies that diversity strengthens the judiciary. It reduces stereotypes and implicit biases, and takes into account also different perspectives. This is a strong signal for more women in the judiciary – worldwide. Women in Justice/for Justice on the first International Day of Women Judges is therefore an important UNODC initiative to promote gender equality and responsiveness within the judiciary.”
The new UNODC Women in Justice/for Justice initiative will build on UNODC knowledge, programmes, tools, professional networks and field presence to advance women’s representation and leadership in the justice sector, promote integrity and gender-responsive criminal justice, and address gender-based violence; improve the existing knowledge base, in particular to remedy regional gaps in data collection and analysis; and celebrate “Women in Justice/for Justice” leaders, both men and women, through an awareness-raising campaign to continue throughout 2022.
The 10 March event featured a hybrid panel discussion addressing different facets of gender responsive justice, including access to justice, the role of women in promoting integrity and accountability, the needs of women witnesses and victims, responses to gender-based violence, tackling the gender gap in private law firms and strengthening data collection and analysis.
The panel was moderated by Ambassador Annika Markovic of Sweden, and featured Reem Al-Ansari, CEO & Founder of Dr. Reem Al-Ansari Law firm; Martha Chizuma, Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau of Malawi; Graciela Márquez Colín, President of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico; José Igreja Matos, President of the International Association of Judges; Kimberly Prost, Judge, International Criminal Court; and Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca, Judge of the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires.
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