Increasing the Gender Diversity of High Courts: A Comparative View

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21 Scopus citations


The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor and the nomination of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court provides a timely opportunity for scholars, policymakers, and members of the legal community to consider why there are so few women on the world's highest courts. Although singular moments draw our attention to the importance of women on high courts, sadly, this attention is rarely sustained over long periods. While much was made of Ronald Reagan's historic nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to serve as the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, more than a decade and four nomination opportunities passed by before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed. On this point, Paula Monopoli aptly observes: “[T]he assumption that progress would steadily continue until gender parity was achieved has proven to be wrong” (2007, 43). Unfortunately, this same observation could be said of virtually all other high courts across the globe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-484
Number of pages11
JournalPolitics and Gender
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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