Women in Law, a network of lawyers from Lahore Education & Research Network LEARN have condemned the regrettable comparison drawn by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, between the length of a women’s skirt and that of a speech, during his address at the judicial conference held on 13th January 2018, in Karachi.

Founder of LEARN Nida Chaudary said, “A profession that is rooted on the principle of equality, justice and non-discrimination, it is unfortunate that such a regressive comment was made by the senior most member of the judiciary who has been preaching uplifting of the standards of the legal profession and the lawyers in his various public addresses in the recent past. Coming from the Chief Justice himself, such regressive ‘humour’ is not only gender-insensitive but also a disgrace to the profession and a detriment to the community at large.”

We therefore, take a strong stance against the comment that contributes to the validation of the patriarchal mind-set of objectifying women and demand the following:

1. That the CJP tenders a public apology for his poor choice of comparison

2. That an independent ‘Review Committee’ be formed by the Government to highlight gender-insensitive language and approach found in our various laws, judgements and public statements of lawyers and/or judiciary

3. That gender-sensitive and gender-centric training be made part of the curriculum of trainings of lawyers and the judiciary

4. That a quota system be introduced to address the existing discrepancy between number of male and female judges on the Bench

We also take this opportunity to appeal to the students, educational institutions, lawyers, employers, NGOs and all other civil society organizations and public at large to call out casual sexism wherever they see it for a more secure and equal society.