2124 Gender/Women in the Legal Profession I: Gender and Judging

WG Comparative Studies of Legal Professions

Room: B2.02


The session deals with various aspects of gender and judging: career aspects of women in the judiciary, gender aspects in judging and specific feminist judging. It combines information on four continents of the world: Africa, Australia, USA and Europe (Germany) (Sessions organized by Ulrike Schultz).


Chair: Ulrike Schultz | FernUniversität in Hagen

Rosemary Hunter | Queen Mary University of London

Kathy Mack | Flinders University

Sharyn Roach Anleu | Flinders University

Feminist Judging in Australian Magistrates Courts: Empirical Findings




Most of the literature to date on feminist judging has focused on judging in appellate courts, where the main judicial ‘output’ is a formal, written judgment. We consider the ways in which a feminist approach to judging might become visible in a lower court setting. The work of summary criminal courts such as Australian magistrates courts is characterised by high caseloads, routinisation and ‘getting through the list’. Magistrates must manage a busy courtroom and the throughput of cases while making rapid, procedural and sentencing decisions delivered orally and immediately.   This paper presents the results of an analysis of transcripts of magistrates court proceedings in which we sought to identify ‘feminist moments’ in summary decision-making, and to identify magistrates adopting a more general (potentially) feminist orientation. In doing so, we draw on our own previous theoretical work on feminist judging in lower courts, together with court observations and interviews with feminist magistrates.

Kathleen Mahoney | University of Calgary

Taking Down a Sexist Judge – How Feminist Methodology Removed a Judge from the Bench



Ulrike Schultz | FernUniversität in Hagen

Women Lawyers under the Swastika




Only in 1922 women got the right to be admitted to the legal profession and the judiciary in Germany. In 1933 about 2-3% of the judges were women and 252 of app. 15.000 lawyers. There were no women law professors. After the Nazis had seized power in January 1933, women were gradually pushed out of legal occupations, as the Nazi ideology was based on masculinity and legal occupations were seen as closely related to state power. From 1935 onwards women could no longer be admitted to the judiciary and the legal profession due to an act passed by Hitler himself, and women were no longer allowed to take legal examinations. During the war women could act as stakeholders in legal practices but had to stop practising when the patrons returned from the battle fields. Women in the judiciary were moved into functions of child care and custody. Law had been a preferred subject for Jewish women and women of Jewish faith. They either left Germany in the 1930s or lost their lives in the holocaust.
In the presentation an overview over the development will be given and elements of individual life stories of women lawyer will be summarized and analysed.

Rania Maktabi | Østfold University College, Norway

Female Citizenship and Patriarchal Nationality Laws in the Middle East

Pressures for Reform between Faith and Nation in Lebanon and Kuwait




A decade has passed since female citizens in Kuwait were enfranchised in 2005. Political rights for women, and the mobilization of stateless Bidun in Kuwait after the 2011 Arab Uprisings, are two factors that impact on the politicization of pressures to reform the patriarchal nationality law in Kuwait formed in 1959 where citizenship is conferred through male citizens. Similar pressures for reform occurred in Lebanon in March 2011 where female lawyers and women’s groups mobilized in demand for reform in the 1925 Lebanese nationality law. Counter-pressures against change in the status quo, are found in other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and in Levantine states such as Syria, Palestine, and Jordan.
How is the exclusion of female citizens from acquiring full nationality rights seen in terms of faith-based perspectives as well as political deliberations in parliament in a state where Islam is majority religion such as Kuwait, compared with a multi-religious state such as Lebanon? Both states share common challenges pertaining to demographic configurations related to the presence of long-term noncitizen residents such as refugees, migrant workers and stateless inhabitants. In which ways does the presence of the noncitizen population, and potential intermarriage between citizens and noncitizens impinge on normative narratives of who belongs to the state and the terms upon which belonging is defined? Female citizens’ limited access to nationality raise thus questions on the gendered facets of belonging in small states where demographic configurations have political repercussions.




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