Women Judges, Lawyers and Academics on International Women’s Day and a career in Law

As the world celebrates women today, a number of judges, lawyers, and academics share their career journey and what today’s celebration means to them.

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Law practice or the career in itself is generally a tough one they say. But with existing social inequalities, it is perhaps even tougher for women working in this industry.

Today, March 8, 2022, marks International Women’s Day, and this year’s celebration is themed, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”

Additionally, the hashtag driving this year’s campaign is the #BreaktheBias, with a call on people to work towards a world that is equitable, inclusive, and free from bias and discrimination, so the playing field is levelled for women going forward.

As the world celebrates women today, a number of judges, lawyers, and academics share their career journey and what today’s celebration means to them.

Ellen Lordina Serwaa Mireku – Circuit Court Judge

I joined the bench in May 2014 as a magistrate and was promoted in August 2016 to the circuit court. I would say it was a smooth transition and surprisingly, my appointment and promotion at both levels were under the tenure of a female Chief Justice. She made it a point to promote gender equality and equity on the bench. She encouraged a lot of women to work hard.

As a young woman in this field, it has been challenging since promotions and performance are ranked at the same levels. You are a mother raising children, a wife taking care of a home, and a career woman who needs to excel in all these areas. Striking a balance is always difficult and invariably, affects other areas of your life but I strive to give my best when it comes to these 3 areas.

There is this perception that women are our own enemies with this pull her down attitude. We want to break this bias, change the narrative and shine the light on the importance of every woman. Where a woman gets the opportunity, she should be the light for other ladies/women. We want the world to know that women are enough and all the biases against us should be broken to help us achieve gender equality and equity in all fields of life.


Rosemary Baah Tosu – Circuit Court Judge

My career as a judge though short has been really fulfilling! I enjoy what I do and am grateful for the opportunity to help resolve real-life issues. It gets humbling I must confess.

It might sound funny but I have not had any challenges. I take a lot of things in my stride, I get along with the actors in my field easily. I think that attitude is helpful..anytime I come across something that looks like a challenge I just think about how I can get it resolved. So far everything is on course.

Bias is something that not only women suffer..men do too. Both genders have to deal with daily stereotyping. But I believe it's important to celebrate a day like this because it’s so easy for women’s contributions to get swept under the carpet. Such a celebration reminds women of how far we have come and the sacrifices that have been made by pioneers over the years. It also reminds us to also set good examples for the younger generation. They need to know that nothing is impossible.


Susanna Afutu – Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Central University

My name is Susanna Afutu. I have been a lecturer at Central University Law Faculty for the past five years. My journey in lecturing has been fulfilling yet tough. It’s been fulfilling because I am a part of a team that is helping raise the next generation of jurists in Ghana. Its been tough because the demands of this career path are high.

My role as a lecturer includes preparing lesson notes, teaching, marking, research, and publication. We are also placed on some Committees of the University as part of our duty to the school. I have had to juggle all this with family life and it has not been easy.

What has helped me navigate my way through this maze is effective time management, prioritizing, and seeking help from those who can assist both at home and at school.

Organizations should lean towards electing or nominating female executives and leaders because women have proved themselves time and again that we can deliver if given the opportunity.


Gertrude Amorkor Amarh, Legal Practitioner, Law Lecturer, Faculty of Law, UPSA

My career journey as a law lecturer is one that I will describe as eventful, having come with both challenges and opportunities. Through it all, I have always been inspired by the opportunity to share knowledge with my students and also to learn from them. Even more importantly, the opportunity to inspire and mentor others, especially females, has been a major motivation for me.

A major challenge has been finding myself in a society that is sometimes unwilling to acknowledge the peculiar circumstances of women in their daily lives and career progression. Having to battle gender stereotypes has also been an issue. These barriers have not totally vanished, but with time and experience, I have found ways of overcoming them.

My approach has always been to look beyond the challenges and be inspired by my dreams. Looking up to women who have achieved great things in society, and knowing that other females also look up to me have been an inspiration in my quest to remain focused on my dreams.

This year’s celebration of International Women’s day is representative of women's empowerment to me. ‘Breaking the bias’ connotes capability, inspiration, a can-do spirit, and an unapologetic acceptance of one’s self. Even more importantly, the celebration represents an unwavering collaboration among all women, and men, to conquer all forms of bias and discrimination against women.


Background to the celebration of International Women’s Day

The first semblance to an International Women’s Day was observed only in the US as National Women’s Day on February 28, 1909.

It was during the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen that Clara Zetkin, a German communist activist suggested the idea for a designated day for women across the world, to “press for their demands.”

Following that, International Women’s Day was first celebrated on March 19, 1911 in four countries – Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Two years later, Russia became the fifth country to observe the day on February 23, 1913.

The United Nations officially recognized the celebration of a Day for women in 1977.

According to the UN, the fact that Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th is strongly linked to the women’s movements during the Russian Revolution in 1917.