It can only be considered there is an adequate number of women judges when we stop asking about the number of women judges in the country, the President of the Judicial Service Commisson (JSC) Hisaan Hussain, has said.
Hisaan, who is also the MP for the Baa atoll Thulhaadhoo constituency, made the statement at the first-ever Maldives Women Judges Conference 2023, which commenced at Crossroads Maldives on Wednesday.
She said that statistics have to indicate that it is no longer necessary to actively advocate for the recruitment of women judges for the effort to be considered a success.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Judicial Administrator Aishath Rizna highlighted the precedence given by the current administration to promote women in the judicial sector. She said that there are more educational opportunities and trainings being offered in an effort to ensure less of a gender disparity in the legal field.
The aim of the conference was to provide a platform for female judges to share their knowledge and experience and to find solutions to the daily challenges they face in their professional lives. The conference is split into seven sessions.
A number of prominent women from around the world and from the Maldives spoke at these sessions. Some of the international speakers include: Justice Gita Mittal, the Chief Justice for the State of Jammu and Kashmir in India; Justice Dato' Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Judge of the Federal Court of Malaysia; and Diana Torres, Rule of Law, Policy Advisor at UNDP.
From the Maldives, Justice Aisha Shujune Muhammad, one of the two female judges at the Supreme Court; Justices Huzaifa Mohamed, Fathimath Faruheeza and Dheebanaz Fahmy, the three female judges of the High Court; and other influential women, including Aishath Mohamed Didi, the Minister of Gender and Family, and Aneesa Ahmed, the founder of Hope for Women, were also seen on the discussion panels.
The two-day conference was organised by the JSC, with support from UNDP Maldives and the British High Commission in the Maldives. The conference was attended by 22 female judges.
The Maldives first appointed female judges in 2007. They were Justice Shujune and Justice Huzaifa, who were appointed to the Civil Court. By 2023, there are 24 women judges in the country.