How Different are Male and Female Judges in Australia? A Time Series Analysis

A common argument is that more women judges will make the judiciary more representative of the community it serves and thereby increase the democratic legitimacy of the courts. This argument assumes that there is something different about female judges when compared to male judges. This paper uses 15 years of demographic data to test that assumption. Just how different are male and females judges in Australia? And have those differences, if any, changed over time?

The focus of this paper is not just on characteristics such as religion or race but on the social experiences of judges. How much unpaid domestic work do male and females judge do? How do male and female judges travel to work ? Do male and female judges engage in voluntary community work? Do male and female judges have internet access at home ?

The paper concludes with some observations about why social experiences of judges, both female and male, should matter in arguments about the representativeness of the judiciary.