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« The judiciary »

Modified on 2015/05/08 11:57 by Sean Zheng Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 2 - Power and decision-making
Table II.19

From gender issues to gender statistics on power and decision-making in the judiciary: illustrative examples

Policy-relevant questions Data needed Sources of data
Are women underrepresented among judges? All judges by sex. Administrative records.
Are women underrepresented among supreme court judges? Supreme court judges by sex. Administrative records.

  • + Gender issues
    • In general, female judges are outnumbered by male judges and the further up the judicial hierarchy one goes, the smaller the representation of women (United Nations, 2010; UNIFEM, 2009). However, there are exceptions. In many countries in Eastern Europe, women represent more than half of all judges and, in some of those countries, more than half of supreme court judges. At the other end of the spectrum, in South Asia, female judges are a small minority, while some national supreme courts have no female judges at all.

      Women’s representation among all judges is correlated with the participation of women in tertiary education in the field of law. In some countries with a high level of participation in tertiary education, such as in Eastern Europe, women may be overrepresented among students in law schools, dramatically increasing women’s chances of becoming judges (United Nations, 2010). However, in some of those countries, women have fewer chances of career advancement than men, owing to gender discrimination or negative stereotypes concerning women’s roles. As a result, women are less likely than men to be appointed supreme court judges.

  • + Data needed
    • Data commonly needed to analyse women and men’s participation in the judiciary are:

      (a) All judges by sex;

      (b) Supreme court judges by sex.


  • + Sources of data
    • Administrative records can be used as a source of data on women and men in the judiciary.

      Population censuses can provide data on judges when a detailed classification of occupations is used during data collection.

  • + Conceptual and measurement issues
    • National statistical offices in many countries do not routinely collect data on judges from administrative records. They may collect data on judges in population censuses when a detailed classification of occupations is used. Judges can be distinguished from other occupations at the four-digit ISCO level. However, data on occupations are not usually processed or disseminated at this level of detail.

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