The United Kingdom Association of Women Judges Attended an International Women’s Day Event with the Commonwealth Secretariat

The United Kingdom Association of Women Judges (UKAWJ) celebrated International Women’s Day in an event with the Commonwealth Secretariat at the Marlborough House, “the historic headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.” On March 8, UKAWJ Committee members and IAWJ members, Hon. Ita Farrelly and Hon. Anisa Dhanji attended the event. Hon. Anisa Dhanji wrote a summary of the event for the UKAWJ Newsletter that she shared with us. Read her summary below.

“The highlight was a panel discussion by High Commissioners, on “Levelling the Law for Women’s Equality in the Commonwealth”. Eliam Tangirongo, the High Commissioner for the Solomon Islands, pointed out how cultural traditions and religious beliefs can sometimes hinder women’s access to justice and their full participation in society. The High Commissioner of Cyprus, Euripides Evriviades, shared some specific initiatives of the government of Cyprus to address the under-reporting of domestic abuse. Saida Muna Tasneem, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, spoke about some inspiring steps taken by her country’s government, to support women’s entrepreneurial ventures, and through that, their economic independence. The High Commissioner of Antigua & Barbuda, Karen-Mae Hill, addressed how faith can be misused to constrain and limit women’s opportunities.

This was followed by some lively questions and comments, led by Baroness Scotland, the Commonwealth’s Secretary General, who reiterated her commitment to eliminate discriminatory laws, and realize the transformative ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As is so often the case, the event was much more than the formal agenda. People meet, and from that, initiatives are born, and relationships forged. Lunch offered a further opportunity for those all-important connections. The event was also a reminder of the diversity and strength of the Commonwealth, the UK’s unique role in it, and the opportunity that that it brings to work towards greater gender equality across nations and boundaries.

Given the occasion, it is fitting to note that the Commonwealth is led by 3 exceptional women – the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth, Theresa May, as Commonwealth Chair in Office, and Patricia Scotland QC, as Secretary General.”