In the 1970s, the Ministry of Justice of Syria adopted a politics of exclusion in order to counter opposition to the appointment of women to the judiciary. Women were first assigned as public prosecutors to juvenile courts, then as judges to the same courts. Thirty years later, the Ministry continues to appoint women overwhelmingly to courts of criminal jurisdiction. Is the Ministry still practicing a politics of exclusion or one of accommodation by enabling women to work in a jurisdiction which corresponds to their career patterns and preferences? Is it important that more women work in civil law?
The data for this chapter is primarily derived from 117 interviews conducted in Arabic with women public prosecutors and judges during 2004–2009 in the main courthouses of Syria. The study shows that women’s experience in the courts can vary depending on the available resources and judicial culture of a courthouse and the social environment of a given region.