From Kate Malleson:

It is not just in Australia and Canada that a backlash can be seen. In South Africa, the number of women on the Constitutional Court has now fallen to two ( Nkabinde and Kamphephe JJ). Kate O’Regan and Yvonne Mokgoro were appointed in 1994, and were the only women initially, being joined a few years ago by Bess Nkabinde. When O’Regan and Mokgoro reached the end of their term (along with Sachs and Langa), they were replaced by three men and Kamphephe.

In England, the proportion of women in the Court of Appeal will fall to 7% in April when Lady Justice Smith retires. This is a lower proportion than in 2000.

Launch of the Women’s Court of Canada website

Colleagues, we are very pleased to announce the launch of the Women’s Court of Canada / le Tribunal des Femmes du Canada website (
The website includes resources related to past, current and future WCC / TFC projects, an equality rights blog, and links to other resources and organizations.
I hope you will find this to be an interesting and useful resource.
Jennifer Koshan
on behalf of the WCC / TFC Steering Committee

Earlier News from UK

Earlier news from UK

Dear all

As some of you may know, the final vacancy on the new UK Supreme Court has recently been filled … by another man, Sir John Dyson. Though he will no doubt be an excellent judge, his appointment is is deeply disappointing for those of us wanting to see another woman on the Supreme Court bench (Mary Arden was apparently short-listed for the post). It means that Brenda Hale remains the only woman appointed to the UK’s top court.

I have been working with a group of colleagues in academia and practice – most of whom are part of this network – on a project called the Equal Justices Initiative which aims to promote the equal participation of men and women in the judiciary in England and Wales. We have set up a website which sets out full details and can be found at:

We’re keen for supporters of this initiative to add their name to the website. I hope that you’ll consider doing so. You can do this by following this link:

Do please also forward this email to friends and colleagues who might be interested and feel free to contact me or Kate Malleson (EJI convenor; if you have any information to add to the website or any thoughts or suggestions about how we might take the EJI forward.

Best wishes,

Erika Rackley

Director of UG Studies * Senior Lecturer in Law
Durham Law School * Durham University
50 North Bailey * Durham
DH1 3ET * UK

New stats from Rachel

New stats from Rachel

Female judicial appointments during the first 2 years of a president’s term:

Carter 10%
Reagan 3%
Bush 10%
Clinton 31%
W. Bush 21%
Obama 50%

Rachel Paine Caufield, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Drake University Department of Politics and International Relations
2805 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Research Fellow
The American Judicature Society Hunter Center for Judicial Selection
The Opperman Center
2700 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Iowa: A Leader for Women’s Equality, Don’t go Backwards

Iowa voters voted not to retain the three sitting supreme court justices that were on the ballot all of whom voted with the majority that the Iowa Constitution protected the rights of gays to marry. Governor Terry Branstadt, who had appointed the first women to the Iowa Supreme Court, chose three names from a nominating commission list of nine that included only one woman. The woman was the youngest member on the list, was a law professor, is African-American, and only just was admitted to the Iowa bar.

Here’s a op/ed piece I sent to the Des Moines Register which was not published. Am hoping a letter to the editor will get in.

Iowa: A Leader for Women’s Equality, Don’t go Backwards

In 1869, 51 years before women won the right to vote in national elections, Mitchell County Iowa voters elected Julia C. Addington Superintendent of Schools, the first woman elected to public office in the United States. That same year, Iowa bar examiners admitted to the first woman to the bar in the United States, Belle Babb Mansfield, a 23-year-old from Mt. Pleasant Iowa.

In 1923, Ohio voters elected the first woman to serve on a state supreme court, Florence Allen. Not until 1959 did the next state, Hawaii, select a woman to serve. Iowa joined the ranks in 1986 when Governor Branstad appointed Linda Neuman. The last state to have a woman on its state supreme court was South Dakota in 2002, but two states have gone backwards, Indiana and Idaho. Several states, including Minnesota, have had a majority of women judges on their state supreme courts. Women make up 31% of state supreme court justices overall and women are chief justices in 18 states.

We can be lulled into the assumption of steady and incremental progress as women make up nearly one third of the legal profession and half of all law school graduates. But these numbers do not automatically ensure either proportionate representation on the bench nor steady improvements. Fifteen per cent of President Carter’s appointments to the federal bench were women, but President Reagan appointed only 7 percent; the fanfare over the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court concealed this retreat. Similarly, more than 29% of President Clinton’s appointments were women compared to a little more than 22% for President Bush who followed him. Without continuous vigilance and pressure, we can easily lose the gains we have won.

The Judicial Nominating Commission has now chosen its nine candidates for three judicial vacancies and only one woman made the list. Nearly forty years after women graduated from law school in significant numbers and with women making up more than half of the population of the state of Iowa, is Iowa really going to return to an all-male bench hearing the state’s most important cases? Is there really only one woman lawyer in all of Iowa qualified to serve on the Supreme Court? Governor Branstad appointed the first woman to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1986. Let’s go forward toward greater equality, not backwards.

Sally J. Kenney is the Newcomb College Endowed Chair and Executive Director of the Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University. She is a native of Des Moines, a University of Iowa graduate, and a former faculty member of the University of Iowa Political Science Department. She is a co-founder of the Infinity Project and completing a book on gender and judging.

Sally J. Kenney
Professor of Political Science
Newcomb College Endowed Chair
Executive Director, Newcomb College Institute
#43 Newcomb Place
Tulane University
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
504-862-8589 (fax)

Notes from Kate Malleson in the U.K.

Notes from Kate Malleson in the U.K.

I thought you might appreciate this nice exchange between Kenneth Clarke and David Pannick when KC gave evidence before the justice committee last week. On the subject of gender equality in the judiciary he said:

Kenneth Clarke MP: I can’t remember how many women are in the Supreme Court.
Lord Pannick: One.
Kenneth Clarke MP: One, is it? It remains a priority.

Here is his overview of the diversity issue generally:

‘I think the sort of people who are involved in the appointment of judges are no longer against the appointment of women and they have no views on ethnic minorities. This is the competent upper middle class professionals who are utterly beyond all that.’

Clearly nobody has mentioned to him that class might be a diversity issue! And I love the idea of having no view at all on minorities….

So as you can see, things are moving on a pace here. Hope the news is less gloomy the other side of the pond.

All the best


Clearly nobody has mentioned to him that class might be a diversity issue! And I love the idea of having no view at all on minorities….

Depressed to hear that things are no better your end. Do we all have to move to Canada?