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Gender Justice Uncovered Awards: Judicial decisions from around the world under scrutiny


FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AWARDS:  http://www.womenslinkworldwide.org/wlw/new.php?modo=premios&lang=en

For more information about the winners: http://www.womenslinkworldwide.org/wlw/new.php?modo=premios&tp=ganadores&y=2012&lang=en

The best and worst decisions or court rulings associated with gender equity will receive the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards during an event in Barcelona that portrays the work of the organization Women's Link Worldwide.


In this fourth edition of the Awards, 91 decisions, from 32 countries, which include Spain, Malaysia, Colombia, United Kingdom, South Africa, USA, Honduras, among others, were nominated.


These awards seek to signal the influence that judges have in advancing or limiting the rights of women and girls and urge civil society to participate in monitoring what happens in courts.


This year’s distinguished panel of judges is composed by: Thai lawyer and professor, Virada Somwasdi, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Albie Sachs, and Ángela Patricia Janiot, Colombian journalist for CNN in Spanish.


Bludgeon awards

(Judicial decisions that adversely affect gender equality)


The Bronze Bludgeon is given to the Supreme Court of the United States who used a procedural argument that prevented one and a half million women all employees of a large department store (Wal-Mart) from obtaining reparations for gender-based discrimination they had suffered.  The Supreme Court ruled that the women did not have enough in common to file a class action lawsuit against the company to denounce the policy of gender discrimination in relation to wages and promotions. 


The Silver Bludgeon is given to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, this court determined that a married woman who was beaten by her lover is not entitled to protection against-gender based violence within an “adulterous” relationship because according to the court this law is intended solely to protect women in a traditional marriage.  


The Gold Bludgeon is for the Judicial Commission of Afghanistan for the Gulnaz case, in which an afghan woman who, upon reporting that she had been a victim of rape was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crime of adultery.  Subsequently the authorities offered her freedom in exchange for agreeing to marry her attacker.      


Gavel awards

(Judicial decisions that positively affect gender equality)


The Bronze Gavel is for the Electoral Tribunal of the Federation Judiciary of Mexico.  In this case the court required the political parties to respect the electoral quota laws for women in order to avoid the phenomenon known as “Las Juanitas”, a name for the women who, once elected, yield their positions to an alternate male under orders from their party.  It is noteworthy that the court decides to comment on how the law should be applied in order to fulfill its objective.


The Silver Gavel is given to the Supreme Court of Bangladesh for a case in which the court states that forcing a woman to wear a veil publicly and classifying a woman as a prostitute for not wearing a veil, is a violation of women´s rights and contrary to the Bangladesh Constitution.  This is a tremendously bold decision within its context. 


The Gold Gavel is awarded to the Administrative Tribunal of Cairo (Egypt), for its decision on banning the military practice called “virginity tests” in military prisons to female detainees following the 2011 “Arab Spring” demonstrations.  The court finds that the conduct of the armed forces in conducting these tests violates the constitution and represents a violation of the sanctity of the bodies of women and a violation of their human dignity. This decision is extremely important given the statements by senior military officers that this case did not include “descent” women because they were protesting on the street alongside men.


Anyone can present nominations online for the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards, and any person, as well, may vote online for any of competing decisions for each subject matter. This year we received 2800 votes from the public and according to the number of votes, the public’s awards were granted to the following decisions:


The Public´s Bludgeon award is given to the Supreme Court of Justice of Nicaragua.  The court reduced a rape conviction on the grounds that the defendant was in a state of sexual agitation as a result of alcohol consumption and the argument that the victim had been cooperating with her attacker.  


The Public´s Gavel award is given to the Judiciary of Madrid (Spain).  This court convicts a police officer for sexual harassment and stated that the harassment caused great suffering and psychological damages to the victim, showing the defendant as especially cruel in abusing his position of authority in order to satisfy his sexual desires.


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For more information:

Cristina Sánchez Velázquez
Women's Link Worldwide
Mobile: +34 669 464 490

Office: +34 91 185 19 04
Madrid (Spain)