This project examines the informal and formal aspects that inform the equal representation of men and women on the judicial bench.
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Eva Brems
Researcher: Ms Tabeth Masengu
Sponsored by Special Research Fund for Joint Doctorates of Ghent University (1SF0216)
This proposed research aims to fill the gap in existing African literature by examining aspects of the appointment process that are important in increasing the number of women on the bench. In order to understand how appointments affect judicial diversity, an examination of the informal and formal aspects of the judicial appointment methods is required. In this research, the formal aspects to be examined include the recruitment process, required qualifications and experience for candidates and the composition of the appointment body. The informal aspects to be considered will be the role of political leadership, transparency or lack thereof of the process, the role of the legal profession and the landscape regarding women’s rights. The results of this research will not only have theoretical significance, but policy significance as well. This research will:
(a) Supplement existing literature on obstacles facing women’s aspirations for judicial ascension, by specifically providing an African perspective which is mostly lacking in global debates on gender and the judiciary.
(b) Provide useful research on a policy level, to inform discussions on how SADC countries can attain the failed goals of Article 12 of the SADC Gender Protocol of 2008, which was to reach 50% representation in decision-making positions in the public sector by 2015.