A report commissioned by the Western Cape branch of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), in partnership with the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) and Foundation for Human Rights, reveals an urgent need for gender transformation in South Africa’s legal profession.

CAPE TOWN, 07 December 2021: The report confirms consensus by a number of civil society and public interest litigation organisations that not enough is being done to advance gender equality within the legal profession in South Africa.

The report shows that by 2017 in South Africa, womxn made up only 45% of 1670 magistrates, 39% of 25 283 registered attorneys, and 35% of 246 judges. Of the 2 915 advocates registered at 11 Bars, only 27% were womxn.

The findings of the report are based on comprehensive research undertaken over a period of six years, which included focus groups and dialogues with gender transformation activists and professionals, academics and legal practitioners.

The aim of the report is to facilitate a paradigm shift towards transformation indicators that are not reduced to numbers alone, and include the enjoyment, protection and promotion of the rights of womxn across all spheres of the legal profession.

“WLC believes that transformation of the legal profession is an essential component in the transformation of the judiciary, and it is imperative for significant steps to be taken by both the profession and government in addressing the existing gender disparities,” says Seehaam Samaai, Director of the WLC and the previous National Gender Coordinator for Nadel.

The report, Tipping the Scales: Realities and remedies for gender transformation of the legal profession, will be launched at a gala dinner hosted by the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), the Western Cape chapter of South African Women’s Legal Association (SAWLA WC), and The Women’s Legal Centre.

The launch will also celebrate womxn leaders in the legal fraternity who have contributed positively towards addressing the gender imbalance and practically tipping the scales of the profession.

Where: The Taj Hotel

When: 10 December 2021, at 6pm

To attend the event or for more information, contact Chi-wah Chan at or 072 360 5566.


For media enquiries, contact Ru du Toit at or 079 990 2494.

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