Panel: “Gender on the International Bench”

FEB 19, 2021 | 12:00 PM TO 2:00 PM



Online Event


February 19, 2021: 12:00 PM-2:00 PM




Center for Global Ethics and Politics


The Center for Global Ethics and Politics is excited to announce the first of our colloquia for Spring 2021. The panel will be followed by a Q & A with the speakers. We are excited to host such engaging thinkers and hope that you will join us for what promises to be a thought-provoking event.

This is an online event. Please click here to register to participate via Zoom.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Women are drastically underrepresented on the international bench. The International Court of Justice has 15 judges, only 3 of whom are women; the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has 7 judges with only one woman; and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has 21 judges, 4 of whom are women. What are we to make of this? This gender imbalance among international judges was first pointed out in international legal scholarship by Nienke Grossman ten years ago. After surveying the current state of gender representation among international judges, we go on to consider some of the important normative issues raised by this inequality, including the impacts of judicial gender imbalance on the legitimacy of international courts and on cases involving gender justice, as well as the normative arguments for reforming the imbalance.

Professors Hessler and Føllesdal have recommended the following article for some helpful background reading to their talk:
Nienke Grossman,“Sex on the Bench: Do Women Judges Matter to the Legitimacy of International Courts?” Chicago Journal of International Law 12 (Winter 2012)

Speaker Bios

Kristen Hessler is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University at Albany (SUNY). She works primarily in political philosophy at the intersections of human rights theory and feminist philosophy, as well as environmental ethics. She is currently working on a book about women's human rights.

Andreas Føllesdal (Ph.D. 1991 in Philosophy, Harvard University) is Professor of Political Philosophy on the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo, and Co-Director of PluriCourts, a Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order. He was also Principal Investigator for the European Research Council Advanced Grant MultiRights (2011-16), on the Legitimacy of Multi-Level Human Rights Judiciary. Føllesdal has published in the field of political philosophy, mainly on issues of international political theory, globalisation/Europeanisation, Human Rights, and Socially Responsible Investing.