27 June 2018, Göttingen: Female Judges – experiences, successes and challenges in Palestine and Germany: Somoud al-Damiri, Palestinian Judge of the Sharia Court of Ramalllah and Prof. Maria Wersig, University of Dortmund and Head of the Female Jurists‘ Association in Germany

This lecture, organized and hosted by Göttingen University, will combine the talks of two experts on law and gender. Somoud al-Damiri since 2009, is one of the first female Muslim judges working in Shari’a courts in the Middle East. At the same time, she is public prosecutor in family law in Ramallah. Professor Maria Wersig, is a German Professor of law in social work at the University of applied science in Dortmund. Her work focuses on law and gender and anti-discrimination legislation. Both will assess the role of female judges in their legal orders and explore the following questions: How have female judges been perceived in both societies in history and how are they perceived today? How have societies at large reacted to the new faces of the judiciary? How did/do the parties at court react to a female judge?  What are the special challenges for a Muslim woman being a judge in a Sharia court? Are there similar challenges for female judges in Germany, today?

A second part of the talk will focus on the question of anti-discrimination for women: how can it be safeguarded in Germany as well as in Palestine? What can be done to give women their full rights before the backdrop of a growing number of litigants at German courts coming from Muslim states (International Private Law)? And in Palestine, what can be done considering the fact that the applicable laws as the Jordanian Law of Personal Status of 1976 (in the West Bank) and the Egyptian Law of 1954 (in Gaza) have not yet been reformed? Do women in Germany and Palestine have a common ground for action? Do they, or could they, share anti-discrimination practices and strategies?

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