Paving the Pathway Towards More Women Leaders in the Mexican Judiciary
By Audrey Cavaness
In November 2023, the IAWJ programs team (Jane Charles-Voltaire – Programs Director, Audrey Cavaness – Programs Officer and Alenka Salazar – Legal Coordinator) had the privilege of traveling to Mexico City to meet with the Mexico Chapter of the IAWJ and begin charting the course for the Women in Leadership in Law (WILIL) initiative.
Graciously hosted by the Federal Judicial Training School (EFFJ), the program planning workshop provided a conducive space for open dialogue, shared goals, and the collective construction of a vision for the program. EFFJ also offered a tour of their thoughtfully and progressively designed facilities, including a lactation room, a Gender Corner in the library, and a meeting room named after esteemed former IAWJ Vice-President and retired Justice Margarita Luna Ramos, a testament to their commitment to gender equality.
As participants openly shared their motivations for joining the judiciary, diverse narratives emerged, highlighting the influence of inspiring figures and personal journeys, such as the resilience of a mother returning to the judiciary after raising children. Alongside these inspiring stories, challenges were also acknowledged, including concerns about biased evaluations, limited access to federal positions, and the difficulties of navigating a male-dominated system.
The workshop delved into the unique features of the Mexican judicial system, including the women's contests introduced in 2019. These innovative initiatives aim to increase the representation of women judges by offering accessibility, preparation support, and preference for women with disabilities and heads of households, demonstrating a commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive judiciary.
The Mexico Chapter of the IAWJ readily noted their critical role in driving change, fostering support networks, and advancing legal knowledge within their judiciary. They have demonstrated commitment at the national and international level over the years, with representation on the IAWJ's International Board of Directors, first with Justice Margarita Luna Ramos and now with Magistrate Rosa Elena Gonzalez Tirado. Their ambition to host the IAWJ Latin America and Caribbean Regional Conference in 2024 further exemplifies their dedication to nurturing leadership, sharing resources, and promoting unity among IAWJ members in the LAC region.
The IAWJ programs team also took advantage of their presence in Mexico to engage in meetings with USAID and Abogadas MX. These discussions fostered collaboration opportunities, delved into the national context, and identified areas for joint impact, paving the way for future partnerships.