Collaborative Research Networks

CRN32  Gender and Judging

Organizers

Ulrike Schultz, Monique Cardinal, Monika Lindbekk

The social and political influence of courts has increased in recent decades. The expansion of judicial power worldwide raises important questions about who the judges are and what their role should be. The CRN addresses the following issues: First, gender aspects of judicial education, selection processes, and subsequent legal careers. Worldwide women tend to be underrepresented among the upper echelons of the judiciary. In order to arrive at a nuanced understanding of the subject matter, comparative analysis is used to shed light on the mechanisms which hinder and facilitate a legal career. Secondly, there is the issue of what constitutes a good judge. Third, the network addresses the impact of gender on judging. Early scholarship on women judges was colored by essentialist assumptions about the difference women in positions of power should make. Rather than asking whether women judges offer a different voice, more recent scholarship on law and society theorizes the related notions of diversity on the bench, democratic legitimacy, difference, and representativeness through a gender lens. The CRN provides an international platform for discussion between scholars who have extensive knowledge on the subject matter in the Western world, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The focus of the CRN in the next few years will lie on gender and judging in Muslim countries and in Africa where the nexus of gender and judging is only just beginning to crystalize.

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