Patriarchal attitudes create a hostile environment for female lawyers who find it difficult to work with colleagues who make crude jokes, and patronise and objectify women. In addition to hostile work environments, women advocates are subjected to covert patriarchal practices such as being briefed only on matters relating to divorces and maintenance claims. The old boys’ network at the Bar also influences who is briefed and, if one does not play golf or did not attend the correct law school, one may find himself or herself performing mundane work. These androcentric trends are deplorable and also ironic because they perpetuate the inequality and injustice which are the very problems the judiciary is supposed to address.
Why is it necessary for gender equality to be affirmed in the judiciary?
An equal society is reflected in the practice of equality. Therefore, if South Africa has embraced equality, it would be logical to expect a key institution such as the judiciary to comprise an equal number of women and men. This would send a philosophical message that gender equality not only existed in theory, but was a living reality.
A sincere commitment to the gender agenda is not negotiable and should not be taken lightly when viewed against the historical fight for liberation and equality by South African women struggle heroines.
It is not surprising that in a patriarchal society such as ours, there is a tendency to discount the sacrifices and valuable contributions made by women struggle heroines.
There were many other women who sacrificed their