The ACtHPR: From the Politics of Gender to the Gender of Politics? Why Women’s Representation on the Bench is not EnoughPosted: 26 May, 2021
Authors: J. Jarpa Dawuni & Sègnonna H. Adjolohoun
In September 2018, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACtHPR or the Court) made history by swearing in two female judges, thereby bringing the Court’s composition to six women out of its 11 judges. The Court had thus achieved a female majority bench for the first time since its inception in 2006. The symbolic representation of women judges made the bench the most gender-balanced of all times. While women currently make up 55% of judges on the ACtHPR, they account for 35% of all judges since the Court was established, and only 20% of the leadership in the institution (i.e., two women have served in the Bureau versus eight men). In the following discussion, we analyse why women’s symbolic representation has not translated into their substantive leadership within the Court. We query whether the changes introduced to the Rules of Court in 2020, will be a catalyst for a sustainable women’s representation in the Court’s Bureau in the elections slated for 31 May 2021.