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Celebrating Women’s Achievement: Some Female Lawyers Breaking Barriers

By: Angelina Tukpe

As Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s Day today March 8th 2024, it is important to recognize the significant contributions of women in the legal field. This year’s theme, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” is particularly fitting as we highlight the extraordinary journey of female lawyers who are leading the way towards a more just and fair future.

Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, “Women are the real Architects of Society,” and indeed, the stories of these inspiring women exemplify just that.
President Nana Akufo-Addo nominated Gertrude Araba Esabaa Torkornoo, a Justice of the Supreme Court, as the next Chief Justice of Ghana in November 2019.

She replaced Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, who retired as Chief Justice on May 24, 2023, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 for justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. She was sworn into office as the 15th Chief Justice of Ghana on 12th June 2023

She is well known for being one of the Supreme Court judges who presided over the 2020 presidential petition case between John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

She has also made significant contributions to legal knowledge through some of her non-judicial writings including ‘Creating Capital from Culture’; ‘An Uneasy Marriage – the Relationship between Interest Rate Regimes and Debt Recovery Rates in Ghana (2012), ‘Examining the Borrowers and Lenders Act’ (2015), and ‘The Law on Interests’ (2021).

Justice Torkornoo has held several leadership positions in the judiciary. They include the chair of the Editorial Committee of the Association of Magistrates and Judges, chief editor for the development of the Judicial Ethics Training Manual, vice-chair of the E-Justice Steering/Oversight Committee, and vice-chair of the Internship and Clerkship Programme for the Judiciary. She is currently the chair of the E-Justice Steering/Oversight Committee. She is also a faculty member of the Judicial Training Institute and a member of the governing Board of the Judicial Training Institute. She is a regular speaker on different platforms addressing issues on law, leadership and judicial ethics.

For Justice Torkornoo, her journey, as a woman in law has been accompanied by challenges such as trying to juggle her family life and legal and judicial career. However, these challenges led her to develop competencies and skills that helped in her ascent to the top. Another challenge that she faced in her career was her long drawn-out journey to the decision to specialize in litigation, a decision that took almost ten years.

Furthermore, finding herself in a male-dominated profession, pushed her determination to excel. Consequently, she put in a lot of effort to prepare to ensure that she produced excellent work. Her resolve and assertiveness ensured that the arena of engagement with her at work remained on the intellectual level and focused discussions on the quality of work, rather than comments built on gender biases.

Nana Oye Bampoe Addo was formerly known as Nana Oye Lithur. She is a Ghanaian barrister with over 30 years of experience and a politician. She is a renowned Human Rights advocateShe was the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection in Ghana from 2013 to 2017] appointed by President John Mahama after the Ghanaian general election. She is a member of the National Democratic Congress.

Nana Oye Bampoe Addo, a distinguished barrister and politician from Ghana, has dedicated over three decades to championing human rights. As the former Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, she has tirelessly advocated for marginalized communities, leaving an indelible mark on Ghanaian society.

Adwoa Amoako Adjei Khairallah, a trailblazing lawyer, shattered barriers when she was admitted to the bars of Ghana and Gambia simultaneously at the age of 26. Not only is she a successful legal practitioner, but she is also an accomplished author and entrepreneur, using her platform to empower the next generation of leaders.

On International Women’s Day, Ghana celebrates the invaluable contributions of lawyers in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender Equality. These legal professionals play a pivotal role in ensuring equal access to justice for women across the nation, advocating for gender-responsive legal frameworks and representing women in courtrooms. Their dedication to upholding women’s rights is vital in achieving SDG 5’s vision of a world where all women and girls have equal opportunities and rights.

These remarkable women serve as beacons of hope and inspiration, challenging stereotypes and pushing boundaries in pursuit of gender equality. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us not only honour their achievements but also commit to supporting and investing in the next generation of women leaders. Together, we can accelerate progress and build a future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.

Source: Adoanews.com

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