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Justice for Women

April 22, 2019

Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, the World Bank Group
Moderated by Jeni Klugman, Adjunct Lecturer in International Development at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Managing Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

World Bank Group general counsel Sandie Okoro visited the school for a Development Roundtable hosted by the International Development program, Global Women in Leadership, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Okoro discussed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and gender equality. Additional progress will be needed to meet the UN’s 2030 deadline, Okoro said. The “justice gap” continues to be a challenge for women seeking access to legal systems in many countries, as shown in the UN’s high-level group report, Justice for Women.

Okoro and Klugman spoke about justice as a basic human right and about projects at the World Bank designed to improve access to justice for women and girls. Okoro noted that remote rural populations have benefited from “mobile courts” that bring judges to small villages to hear cases, overcoming the need for expensive and time-consuming travel to courts in large cities. She emphasized that outreach in rural areas can be improved through partnerships with informal community leaders and religious leaders in order to respond to the reality of legal pluralism that persists in some societies. In conclusion, Okoro and Klugman called attention to the need for additional study on the justice gap, because gender-disaggregated data sources will be essential for effective decision-making at the national and international levels.

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