At the Opening Ceremony of the conference, then IAWJ President Vanessa Ruiz announced the designation of March 10 as the International Day of Women Judges, following adoption by the UN General Assembly of Resolution A/Res/75/274 on April 28, 2021. The resolution was adopted by consensus of the General Assembly and cosponsored by 72 member states.
The idea of an International Day recognizing the contributions of women judges was launched last year jointly by President Vanessa Ruiz on behalf of the IAWJ and Chief Justice of Qatar Hassan Bin Lahdan Alhassan Almohanadi at the Second High Level Meeting of the UNODC Global Judicial Integrity Network held in Doha. Drafting negotiations at the United Nations were expertly led by her Excellency Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani, permanent representative of Qatar to the UN.
At the Opening Ceremony announcement, Judge Ruiz described the course of the inception, negotiation and successful adoption of the Resolution over the past year. Ambassador Al-Thani, Chief Justice Almohanadi, Judge Fatima Almal and UNODC representatives Marco Teixeira and Roberta Solis spoke about the significance of the International Day of Women Judges. Judge Ruiz lauded the UN’s adoption of the International Day of Women Judges resolution as a recognition by the highest international body of nations of the importance of women judges to implementation of the rule of law and fair and equal justice.
The International Day of Women Judges is a potent symbol that will celebrate the accomplishments of women judges, provide a focal point to educate the public and serve as inspiration to girls and young women who aspire to become judges. Judge Ruiz concluded by saying that the International Day of Women Judges also offers a challenge to continue to work to identify where there are issues, such as the glass ceiling responsible for under-representation in higher levels and policy-making bodies of the judiciary, and stressed the need to gather and track data on women judges worldwide. In that way progress towards full participation at all levels can be measured and where progress is lagging, obstacles and problem areas can be identified so that concrete solutions can be devised.
The IAWJ is thrilled to have the International Day of Women Judges and will host appropriate activities to commemorate it each March 10. We thank all who collaborated with the IAWJ to make it possible, especially the State of Qatar and UNODC.