The South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges was formed in August 2004 and was formally inaugurated by the then South African President Thabo Mbeki at a ceremony on 8 August 2004. The membership of the Chapter comprises both Judges and Magistrates, and seeks to bring together female and male judicial officers in South Africa, who embrace the objectives of the International Association of Women Judges.
Since its inception 24 years ago, the IAWJ has grown to more than 4, 600 members in more than 75 countries around the globe, and has made great strides in empowering women throughout the world so that the day to day problems of women and children can be properly resolved through judicial systems. The Chapter is a juristic person, which is further a non- profit and non-governmental organization. The Chapter is run on funds from membership fees.
“OUR INTERNATIONAL HISTORY” - AN INSPIRATION FOR THE LADY JUSTICES OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN JUDICIARY
Even today, there are some places in the world where women are unable to become judges, and women judges seem universally to continue a struggle to attain equality and parity within their professions and societies. For instance, in countries where women judges outnumber men judges, judges often receive low pay for the job, and are otherwise marginalized by a lack of respect for the judiciary. In countries where there are equal numbers of women and men, women often receive less desirable case assignments, have to relocate away from family, or have fewer sought-after administrative duties.
Or consider those countries where both pay and stature may be equal, but the number of women judges remains a small proportion of the total number. So, while the battles may be different in different countries or different parts of the world, there seem to be always battles for the women. We know that, even today, no country in the world is able to claim that it has been able to eliminate violence and pernicious discrimination against women in society.
And so the work of the International Association of Women Judges was begun, and continues. A courageous and inspired group of 50 women judges from around the world came together in 1991. Since its inception, the IAWJ has grown to more than 4, 600 members in more than 75 countries around the globe, and has made great strides in empowering women throughout the world so that the day to day problems of women and children can be properly resolved through judicial systems.
The objectives of the South African Chapter are:
The reasons for joining IAWJ are numerous. It is our duty as judicial officers to ensure equality before the law and access to justice for all. The South African Chapter has, in the very short time it has been in existence, done much to promote these ideals. We have dedicated ourselves to building public confidence in the judiciary, both at the Lower Court as well as High Court levels.