Equal representation of women in the professional world in general, and in the judiciary in particular, is critical to achieving the goal of a just society for everyone. Gender equity is more than just reflective of rule of law; it’s an integral part of what “rule of law” is.
Even countries that rank highly on rule of law indices have room for improvement. In the United States, for example, disparities in compensation, longevity, and representation of men and women persist in the legal profession. Inequality is particularly stark in private practice, and, despite recent strides, continues to persist in the judiciary.
The implications of this are broad. Particularly, the absence of equal representation of women in the judiciary can negatively affect the perception of legitimacy and the rule of law. Women and minority judges also bring different perspectives to court, without which the bench is unable to fully understand the context of the litigants who stand before them. It can also facilitate access to justice, by leading other women to believe that the courts are available to them. In these ways, gender equity is an issue that concerns all societies, no matter how advanced they may be.