Women representation at Bar, Bench hasn’t translated precisely to women equality – Justice Jones Dotse

He spoke as part of a panel discussing the role men can play as allies in achieving gender equality in Ghana.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

Justice of Ghana’s Supreme Court, Justice Jones Dotse says despite having an almost equal representation of women and men at various levels of the legal profession, such feats do not reflect in real terms in women's equality. 

“If you look at the direct principles of state policy, particularly articles 36 (6, 7), you will see for example a conscious effort being made by the constitution to prevent some customary practices that discriminate against women. But if you look at our societal norms and attitudes towards women, there, the discrimination becomes real," he said. 

He adds that the appears to be very good laws in the constitution that seeks to prevent to some levels, discrimination against women, however, they fail in implementation.

“When you come into the profession, you’ll see these laws/bills - intestate succession law, dissolution of marriage, spousal property. The constitution may seem to have made some very significant contributions there. But up till now, that law has not been passed. You look at many instances, and it would seem clear that many women are not even aware of some of the constitutional provisions that we have. 

The attitude of the family is such that, in the community where the women come from, they perceive women as second fiddle to men, despite the fact that in this modern-day and age, where we have had Chief Justices, two of them have been females, but it has not translated in informing the laws for women. Then if you come to the Attorney-General’s, we have had three female Attorney-Generals, at the same time, it has not translated in real terms. As I said earlier, there are constitutional provisions, and there is no clear discrimination, but if we are ready, there are challenges/barriers we have to break," he explained. 

He spoke as part of a panel discussing the role men can play as allies in achieving gender equality in Ghana. 

The event was organized by the Institute of African Women in Law, in collaboration with the Ghana Bar Association Women Forum. 

Other panelists like Sheila Minkah-Premo, Senior Managing Partner at Apex Lawconsult said men can be allies in achieving gender equality by creating an enabling environment and encouraging women in leadership.

Similarly, Mr. David Ofosu-Dorte of law firm AB & David said in the professional area, the working environment should encourage both males and females to see themselves as allies, working together.

He says at his law firm, for instance, they have created paternity leave, and a flexitime policy, that enables women especially, to have a balanced work time. 

“As far back as 2003, we created what we call the flexitime, and the flexitime was inspired by the fact that we had a lot of females in the place. We also created a situation where you could bring children to the office because we realized that there were challenges that they face, they have childbirth and they have to go and pick up the children. So so can see children running around after 2 pm, and we’ve created a place, so it’s conducive."