The International Association of Women Judges is an international non-governmental organization of more than 4,000 members at all judicial levels in 103 countries. Formed in 1991, the IAWJ has been recognized by judiciaries around the world, intergovernmental organizations, and the United Nations for its outstanding and pioneering judicial training programs. The IAWJ’s flagship program, the Jurisprudence of Equality Program (JEP), provides training for members of the judiciary, female and male, on the domestic application of international, regional, and national law on issues on discrimination and violence against women. JEP-trained jurists have established a track record of issuing judgments striking down discriminatory laws and practices, and they have expanded the rights of women in their home countries on a broad range of issues, including economic discrimination, property rights, custody, inheritance, sexual assault, and all forms of violence against women. Trafficking and corruption have increasingly become issues that IAWJ judges are seeking to address around the world.
The IAWJ has established good relations with and its programs supported by various international organizations. The IAWJ has collaborated with the World Bank, UNDP, UN Women, and the UN Democracy Fund. The IAWJ has status with ECOSOC and its work has been honored by UNIFEM at the UN in 2003, 2006, 2007, and featured by UN Women in its annual reports, most recently for the 2011 Report on successful projects on Justice [IAWJ’s Justice, Jurisprudence, Accessibility and Accountability in Zambia (JJAAZ)]. The IAWJ annually presents panels at the UN Commission on the Status of Women annual meeting at UN Headquarters in New York. Our staff and members are sought as experts, consultants, and collaborators with numerous other organizations related to gender equality. The IAWJ is a member of the International Legal Assistance Consortium and has Expert Status with the Hague Conference of International Private Family Law. From 2008-2011 the IAWJ received funds from the MDG3 Fund of the Netherlands to support its program: Ending the Abuse of Power through Sexual Exploitation: Naming, Shaming, and Ending Sextortion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Philippines, and Tanzania. With funding from the Netherlands’new Fund for Leadership of Women (FLOW), it is beginning a new 3 year program in 2012 in West Africa and South Asia.
The IAWJ has years of experience working with judges around the world. Current members range from justices on the International Criminal Court and other international tribunals, to the first female chief justices of their national judiciaries, to first-instance magistrates at the trial level in small villages and towns. The IAWJ encourages and supports women judges professionally; helps organize and build the capacity of women judges associations worldwide; provides training for members of the judiciary, female and male, to help them apply human rights laws in their case decisions; promotes women’s access to courts in general; and works toward uprooting gender bias from national and international judicial systems.
The strength of the IAWJ is its network of women judges at all levels of the judiciary who, by working together, have developed judicial leadership, exchanged information on issues critical to the concern of judges, and worked toward uprooting gender bias from judicial systems. Women judges have gained strength by meeting together, collaborating on international justice and women’s issues, and sharing their experiences as judges and as women on the bench.
IAWJ is not planning any project in Libya for the time being but would like to be involved in the process. We are prepared to reassess this decision pending eventual requests from Libyan judges or collaborative opportunities with other ILAC members. We would welcome opportunities to explore joint programs or to provide a specific niche in new programs that are developed by other colleagues.