While equality in the judiciary has been historically uneven, steps are being taken to remedy this as evidenced by the declaration by the United Nations General Assembly of 10 March as the International Day of Women Judges. The General Assembly resolution, drafted by the State of Qatar, is tangible proof of a positive shift. Despite women’s increased engagement in public life, they remain significantly underrepresented in decision-making positions. In fact, a relatively small number of women have been, or are part of, the judiciary, particularly at senior judicial leadership positions. Women’s representation in the judiciary is key to ensuring that courts represent their citizens, address their concerns and hand down sound judgments. By their mere presence, women judges enhance the legitimacy of courts, sending a powerful signal that they are open and accessible to those who seek recourse to justice. The entry of women judges into spaces from which they had historically been excluded has been a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representative of the people whose lives they affect. By marking the day, the world reaffirms commitment to develop and implement appropriate and effective national strategies and plans for the advancement of women in judicial justice systems and institutions at the leadership, managerial and other levels. Celebrating this first annual International Day of Women Judges to promote the full and equal participation of women at all levels of the judiciary, to celebrate the progress that has been made, and raise awareness about the challenges ahead.
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