Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

Advancing the role of women in the Kyrgyz judiciary

‘Each country faces its own challenges and has its own particularities. But when we join together despite the distances, there emerges an understanding of the fact that we are not alone. This understanding helps us solve challenges both on the national and international levels,’ Judge Irina Vorontsova, Chairwoman of the Bishkek City Court in Kyrgyzstan, told IDLO following her attendance at the 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ).

In an effort to enable female Kyrgyz judges to benefit from the experience of female justice professionals in their country and around the world, IDLO and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) have been actively supporting national and international activities of the Association of Women Judges in Kyrgyzstan.

The Kyrgyz Association of Women Judges, established at the initiative of two female Kyrgyz judges in 2015, serves to enhance civic education, address issues related to the judicial profession and advance the role of women in the judiciary. It currently counts Feruza Djamasheva, former Chairwoman of the Supreme Court, as its president. Over the past two years, several of its members have participated in international conferences of the IAWJ.

‘When I attended the conference of the International Association of Women Judges this year, I was honored to tell participants that in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Chairperson of the Supreme Court is a woman, that in regional courts women are strongly represented, and that I myself at that point was acting Chairperson of the Bishkek City Court,’ Ms. Vorontsova continued.

‘In our country, the question of advancing women in the judicial profession is not as acute of an issue as in others. Women are quite active in public and political life, and in particular in the justice system. But the issue of domestic violence in the family and that of gender inequality in society more generally are significant problems for us.’

The Kyrgyz Association of Women Judges provides an important forum for female justice professionals to discuss these issues at the national level. IDLO will continue to provide support to the women judges and the Association as it expands its activities and operations.

Image: Judge Irina Vorontsova, Kyrgyzstan (left) and Judge Nadiia Stefaniv, Ukraine