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David Kosař , Masaryk University (co-authored with Marina Urbániková and Barbara Havelková) The Family Friendliness That Wasn’t – Women in the Czech Judiciary

Representation and roles of female judges within post-communist judiciaries differ significantly from the West. Due to the communist past, when being a judge was not a prestigious job, post-communist judiciaries started with a much higher ratio of women on the bench than in the established democracies and they have often kept a parity or even majority of female judges. It is thus often assumed that the problem of women’s underrepresentation does not exist in post-socialist Europe. This article shows, on a Czech case study, that it does. More specifically, despite the fact that women on the bench significantly outnumber their male colleagues, the Czech judiciary is characterized by both vertical  gender segregation and a slow defeminisation. In terms of vertical gender segregation, the higher we look, the less we see women, be it among judges at regional, high and supreme courts. Similarly, female judges are underrepresented among court presidents who wield a significant formal as well as informal powers. As for defeminization, while the decrease in numbers of women in the judiciary as a whole is minimal (only two percent in two decades), it is considerably more significant at apex courts and among court presidents. We are thus witnessing gender segregation and defeminization on positions of power and influence. This paper substantiates these claims and offers tentative interpretations as to why this is. More specifically, we argue that a relative family friendliness, compared to some other legal professions, (whether perceived or not) is crucial part of the consideration for entering the judiciary among women, but there is an actual lack of support for their career progression

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