Female judges, magistrates increase by 58% -CJ

Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo says the judiciary, the third arm of government, has seen a steady increase in number of female judges and magistrates since 2019.

According to her, the numbers have increased by 58 per cent (%) as against their male counterparts, which went up by 8%.

The increase, she noted, calls for robust resilience measures that would enable females in general to make waves in the legal profession and the judicial system.

The Chief Justice was speaking at the opening of the Gender Equality in Law Campaign (GELC) in Accra, on Friday.

Chief Justice Torkornoo noted that there were 138 women serving as judges as of 2019, but by the 2022 and 2023 legal years, that number had gone up by more than 100.

“In that year, the judiciary recorded a total of 218 females,signifying an increase of approximately 58 per cent in the number of women who joined the four-year period…. Ghana’s judiciary is fast getting feminised and more women are driving the administration of justice.”

She said it is high time that women’s contributions to the development of society, the economy and the nation at large were recognised.

The Chief Justice was particular about recognising and acknowledging women’s efforts in Justice delivery because they stand better chances to transform the workplace.

According to her, regardless of the strides being made by women in leadership and the legal profession, they still face needless and daunting challenges.

Much of the challenges are gender prejudice and unfavourable methods of social and professional competitiveness, which often force women to stay off from pursuing their goals.

“Negative comments and stereotypes could take a toll on mental health and self-esteem.”

The Chief Justice indicated that there could be a shift with persistent campaign to achieve gender parity and fairness in the work place and that in order to create a stronger, healthier and more advantageous legal and judicial sector, women’s integration in the workplace must be encouraged and supported.

“With evidence realised, stakeholder engagement and public advocacy to ignite needed policy reforms are also tools required for compelling needed change,” she said.

In a nutshell, she appreciated the growth of women in the administration of law and justice and used herself as an example to encourage other upcoming women pursuing careers in law.

Mrs. Shiela Minkah-Premo, President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) Women’s Forum, indicated that discriminations against women in the workplace happen for reasons, including gender bias and stereotypes, unequal pay, discrimination related to pregnancy, unfair hiring and promotionand sexual harassment.

She noted that women deserve protection and that the law firms and the Ghana Bar Association had responsibility to deal with sexual harassment and other related issues that affected women negatively.

She encouraged the law firms to endeavour to adopt and implement Institute for African Women in Law (IWAL) Gender Equality Policy model.

Ms. Elizabeth Adu, IWAL board member, said the legal profession is where all persons must have access to equalopportunities to grow and lead. 

She added that IWAL was committed to addressing issues across the legal and judicial profession as a non-profit Pan-African organisation.

The gathering also had the benefit to be presented with a research conducted by the Institute of African Women in Law (IWAL) on women in law and leadership in four African countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenyan and South Africa.

The research revealed that women face numerous challenges such as sexual harassment, gender stereotypes and biases, equitable hiring and promotion, equal pay for equal work, withat least one out of 10 women facing sexual harassment.


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