Hon. Francisca Zapata, President of the Association of Chilean Magistrates (MACHI) and IAWJ Member, was Interviewed about the Lack of Promotions for Women in the Chilean Judiciary

Chile | The President of the Association of Chilean Magistrates (MACHI), Judge Francisca Zapata, was interviewed by La Tercera about the barriers that prevent women in the chilean judiciary to advance in their careers.

The Center of Public Studies in Chile in a recent a study called “The appointment of ministers to the Supreme Court: characterization of a practice (1990-2019)” found that 70% of the Supreme Court justices in Chile are males. When asked why this is so, Judge Zapata explained that

“there are normative and cultural barriers in the appointment system that prevent, or delay, women’s advancement to higher positions, especially the Supreme Court.”

Hon. Zapata explains that the appointment system in Chile is not clearly established, which leads to informal customs that negatively affect women. One of the practices used to determine appointments is seniority. Seniority, however, does not account for a candidates competences, she added. Furthermore, given the history in Chile, where half of the population did not have access to judicial careers, seniority favors men. This is clear, she continued, when analyzing the history of the Presidency of the Supreme Court, which has never been appointed to a woman.

Judge Zapata calls for those in charge of the selections to be aware of the bias and fight against it. They should vote for more women to be appointed to the Supreme Court. By voting for women they will “contribute to repairing a historic injustice, … and therefore, strengthen the judicial institutions with greater democratic legitimacy.”

Read the full interview in Spanish here.