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Thematic reports

A/76/142: Participation of women in the administration of justice - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán


25 July 2021

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Independence of judges and lawyers


In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, focuses on gender equality in the judiciary. The report examines the current status of women’s representation in judicial systems, identifying the barriers hindering their adequate access to, and promotion and retention in, the judiciary and prosecution services.

Throughout the report, the Special Rapporteur documents a number of constraints faced by women in accessing and advancing in a judicial career. Discrimination against women in the judicial system stems from various regulatory obstacles and institutional, structural and cultural barriers that lead to the underrepresentation of women in decision-making positions or to their confinement to certain areas of the judicial system. The report indicates that gender stereotypes are one of the main causes of inequality in the proportion of women judges in the different courts and tribunals, also placing women judges and prosecutors at a higher risk of suffering aggression or various forms of harassment at work.

While acknowledging the progress made by several States in promoting gender equality in the judicial system, the Special Rapporteur warns that the development and implementation of policies to that effect have been uneven and inconsistent. The results achieved – although substantial – are still insufficient. While stressing the importance of gender equality for the equal and effective protection of human rights, the Special Rapporteur underlines that the elimination of discrimination against women will require systemic changes in social structures, which, in turn, call for strong political will.

The Special Rapporteur makes a number of recommendations. These include taking steps in each country to achieve the target of at least 50 per cent of women at the various levels of the judiciary and prosecution services by 2030 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

Delivered To:

the General Assembly at its 76th session