Women on the Bench – The role of women judges in fragile states

Date: 8 March 2021
Time: 8:30-9:30
Venue: Zoom

Women are entering courts as judges in increasing numbers all over the world. This is also true in post-conflict and transitioning countries. Judges are influential decision-makers and decide on a wide range of issues across public and private life that have concrete impact on individuals and society. Yet we know very little about women judges in fragile contexts with regards to how women become judges; the nature of the obstacles they encounter; how they experience their role as judges, their prospects for career progression, and social expectations around what women judges should deliver through their rulings.

On International Women’s Day, we will discuss issues related to gender, power and judging in fragile and conflict-affected contexts based on insights from the research project “Women on the Bench – The Role of Women Judges in Fragile States”, focusing on findings from Afghanistan, Uganda, Angola, Guatemala, and Haiti. Elin Skaar (CMI/LawTransform), Pilar Domingo (Overseas Development Institute/LawTransform), Torunn Wimpelmann (CMI), Marianne Tøraasen (CMI/LawTransform) in conversation with Siri Gloppen (UiB/LawTransform).

Elin Skaar is a Senior Researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) and Research leader for Courts, Judicial Behaviour & Transitional Justice Unit at LawTransform. She has worked on courts and transitional justice since the early 1990s. Her main empirical focus is Latin America and Southern Africa. She is the project leader of “Women on the Bench” and has conducted field work in Angola for the project.

Pilar Domingo is a Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Affiliate at LawTransform. Her areas of expertise are rule of law, judicial reform and access to justice, state-building in fragile situations and gender issues. She has conducted research on women judges in Uganda.

Torunn Wimpelmann is a Senior Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), focusing on the intersections between gender, political and legal orders in contemporary Afghanistan. She has several years of field experience from Afghanistan as a political ethnographer.

Marianne Tøraasen is a PhD candidate in Comparative Politics (University of Bergen) and Chr. Michelsen Institute, and Affiliate at LawTransform. Her areas of expertise are women’s political and judicial representation, and she has spent several months doing fieldwork in Haiti.