A new read from WARA Board Member Dr. Josephine Dawuni!

Read Ubongabasi Obot’s article about the book launch at this past year’s International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague!

International Courts and the African Woman Judge: Unveiled Narratives by Dr. Josephine Dawuni of Howard University


A sequel to the pioneering study on Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From Obscurity to Parity?, this book examines the issue of gender diversity, representative benches and international courts by focusing on women from the continent of Africa who have served in international courts. This study challenges existing discourse on gender diversity in international courts by arguing the need to disaggregate gender diversity with a view to understanding intra-group differences, strengths, challenges and contributions. While feminist legal scholars have interrogated the questions of gender diversity on international courts, no study has focused exclusively on who the women judges are, how they get to the courts and what happens when they get there. This book provides the first detailed account of women on international courts with a focus on African women. It provides a fresh and focal examination on the question of gender diversity by detailing the experiences of nine women judges. Situated within different theoretical frameworks, but drawing largely from postcolonial feminism, feminist institutionalism, feminist legal theory and legal narratives, this book brings together established scholars, creating a multidisciplinary platform for investigating questions on judicial appointments, gender, geographic location, class and professional capital, among others, combine to shape the lives of the African women who sit on international courts. Using primary data collected through personal interviews, each chapter provides glimpses into the lives and professional trajectory of each judge, providing a rich and theoretically grounded narrative which, would otherwise not be heard in mainstream feminist legal scholarship. The book makes an important contribution to feminist legal scholarship by using legal narratives as a tool to unveil the silences on the lives of women from Africa who have made great gains in accessing international benches. Furthermore, this book is positioned as a leading exposition on the need for documenting the contributions women from Africa are making to both domestic and international courts. The book makes critical contributions to African feminism, feminist legal scholarship, international law, gender studies and gender and judging. In essence, this book opens the door for future research on African women at the nexus of gender, courts, judging and international law and organizations. This book will be of interest to a wide variety of audiences including governments, policy makers, civil society organizations and for courses on women and genders studies, women and politics and feminist activists interested in all questions on gender and judging. The foreword is provided by Hon. Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, former judge and president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and former arbitrator, Iran-US Claims Tribunal (IUSCT).




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