Female judges key to eradication of negative cultural practices – President

Female judges key to eradication of negative cultural practices – President

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkonoo

The President of the Republic Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo has pointed out the pivotal role that female judges play in eliminating un­desirable cultural practices, particular­ly among women and girls that impede their development.

He said the experience of female judges places them in a prime posi­tion to lend distinct perspectives and strengths to the cause of Justice and equity.

The President was speaking at the opening of the 18th International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) Conference in Accra on Monday.

The three-day conference aims to capitalise on previous successes and take advantage of the IAWJ’s unique position in bringing together judicial officers from around the world to dis­cuss matters of mutual importance.

It is on the theme “Combating Negative Cultural Practices in Con­temporary Times – The Role of Women Judges.”

President Akufo-Addo noted that having women at all levels of the judi­cial system across the continent not only increases respect for the judicia­ry but also fosters confidence in the justice delivery system.

He said the theme for the confer­ence was a call to every member of the judicial system, particularly wom­en judges, to “leverage our collective legal acumen to dismantle barriers to justice.”

The President noted that negative cultural practices were not just an affront to the victims but were “a blemish on our collective human con­science.”

“As judges and upholders of the law, you have the power to redefine norms and set precedents that protect the vulnerable and marginalised.

“In dealing with issues like gen­der-based violence, child marriage, widowhood rites and female genital mutilation – practices steeped in deep-rooted cultural norms – your voices and rulings can resonate deep­ly, driving societal transformation.

“It is imperative to acknowledge that the fight against these practices is not confined to the courtrooms. Education, awareness, and collabora­tive governance are critical. We must engage traditional leaders, educators, and communities to recalibrate mind­sets and attitudes. It is in our schools, homes, and community gatherings where the foundational beliefs of our next generation are formed,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo urged fe­male judges to uphold the ideals of fairness, equality, and justice in all their decisions to combat detrimental cultural traditions.

“Let them (judgments) be a beacon for those in the shadows of fear and oppression. Remember, each decision you make not only affects the individ­ual in your courtroom but also sets a tone for what we, as a society, deem acceptable.

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