Women in the Judiciary in Europe

Women in the Judiciary in Europe
This section aims at collecting documents, statistics and articles on the subject of gender equality in the judiciary at European and national level. It is work-in-progress and will be gradually enriched with  new material. Time for Equality would like it to be a space open to your contributions and your input in order to share information and studies available and to raise awareness on gender equality issues in the Judiciary. 

The European Commission

The European Commission (EC) is taking stock and monitoring the progress achieved in gender equality, in particular by collecting and disseminating comparable data at EU level through its Database on women and men in decision-making , see its section on the Judiciary, as well as through regular reporting.

Report: Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the EU in 2013

The latest report by the European Commission report presents an overview of the current situation and trends for the representation of women and men in economic decision-making, in politics, in public administrations and in the Judiciary. See pages 34-36 of the report for information and statistical tables on the Judiciary.

Council of Europe

The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) published in September 2012 a report on the European judicial systems, based on data from 2010. 

In the section on gender issues within the judiciary, included for the first time in its report (pp. 32-33), CEPEJ observes that: «Among the 26 states that provided data, only 8 had a woman at the head of the Supreme Court (or equivalent) in 2010. The « glass ceiling » impeding access to the hierarchical progression of women seems to exist also in the field of justice». The years to come will show whether this trend will tend to be inverted.

Facts and figures at national level

Europe and Beyond

On the 7th and 8th of November 2013, the Centre de Droit Public of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), organised the international symposium  “The Judge is a Woman. Reality, Impact, and Justification for Gender Diversity on the Bench”  (read the program : FREN).

It is now possible to listen to all the speeches, made available by the Centre de Droit Public :

Podcasts of the symposium


Die Justiz ist weiblich, Zeit Online, Agosto 2011



General figures

Keine blinden Richter in Österreich, Der Standard, Maggio 2013

Juristin willerste blinde Richterin Osterreichs werden – Die Krone, Marzo 2013

Diskriminierung von Richterinnen

Berger eröffnet Enquete “60 Jahre Richterinnen in Österreich, 30 Jahre Gleichstellung in Europa”, APA- Austrian press Agency, 2007



Arnaud Lefebvre, Belgique : plus d’hommes que de femmes dans la hiérarchie judiciaire, 20 september 2012, Express.be

Il y a plus d’hommes que de femmes dans la hiérarchie judiciaire, 20 septembre 2012, RTBF.Be

Sénat de Belgique, SESSION DE 2010-2011, 18 January 2011



Anne Boigeol, La magistrature française au féminin: entre spécificité et banalisation, Droit e Société, 25, 1993.

Taubira veut plus d’hommes chez les juges: c’est quoi le problème?, Rue 89,18 December 2012

Laure Debreuil, « Plafond de verre » pour les femmes magistrats, MYTF1, 25 Septembre 2013

Senat– Rapports d’information

Comite Interministeriel des Droits des Femmes er de l’egalité professionnelle entre les Femmes et les Hommes– Feuille de route du Ministere de la Justice

Sylvie Perdriolle, Justice et genre : autour du contentieux familial



Facts & Figures –  extensive statistics – essays

Juristinnen in Deutschland, Legal Tribune Online, 2011

Juristinnen in Deutschland, 2007

Juristinnen in Deutschland – extract

Discrimimation of women judges until 1945

Frauen als Wegbereiter des Rechts – Page 21 – a few figures about the beginning of female judges

Book review- Juristinnen – Lexikon zum Leben und Werk



Thematic Fact sheet: Women and the judiciary in Italy, by Time For Equality


The Netherlands

Statistical Tables  Source: De Rechtspraak, Jaarverslag 2012 (Annual report 2012) 

Jeroen Langelaar, Drie op de vier Nederlandse rechters in toekomst vrouw,  News, 24 January 2011, Elsevier

Jelle van De Kamp, Meeste rechters zijn straks vrouw, 26 April 2011, Metro News 



The Glass Ceiling in the Spanish Judiciary, Sandra Isabel Novo Canto, June 2013

We wish to thank Sandra Isabel Novo Canto, who wrote this article specially for Time for Equality, for her valuable contribution.  


Historically, the Judiciary has been a male-dominated area in Spain. Women were forbidden to enter the Judiciary until 1966, and it was not until 1977 that the first woman was nominated as a judge. Since then the scene has significantly changed. Nowadays women account for almost half of the judges and magistrates in the country, and in the last years have been entering into the judicial career in greater numbers than men. However they still face a number of boundaries that prevent them achieving the highest levels in the judicial career, even when they have enough capabilities and merits to get to the top. In this article we will analyze the gender bias in the determination and the procedure of assessment of merits amongst the facts that could affect the exclusion of women from the highest positions.


United Kingdom

Owen Bowcott, UK among worst in Europe for employing female judges, 20 September 2012, The Guardian,

Siobhain Butterworth, There is no time to spare – we deserve a representative judiciary, 20 September 2012, The Guardian,

What is wrong with this picture?, May 2013, Stylist.co.uk

Beata Gruszczyńska , Gender Disparities in the Management of Judicial Systems in Europe, 2013

Senior judge calls for greater gender equality, HR Review, 25 febbraio 2013

Catherine Baksi, Flexible working targets more women judges, 21 October 2013

Sally J. Kenney,Gender and Justice. Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter, Routledge, 2012

Samir Jeraj and Heather McRobie,Diversity in the British judiciary: on the backburner for too long,Our Kingdom, 23 July 2012

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