Portuguese American Journal

Women lead the Portuguese justice system – Portugal

From a total of about 46,000 law practitioners in Portugal, 27,000 were women, according to figures released by the Directorate-General for Justice Policy (DGPJ).

In 2010, 55.7% of judges, 60% of public prosecutors and 62.5% of court clerks were women. Also, women accounted for 51.7% of all lawyers and for 58.5% of all chief law officers, it was reported.

Portuguese women gained full legal equality recently. The position of women in Portuguese society started improving a result of legal reforms after Constitution of 1976 which brought them full legal equality.

Prior to these reforms, Portuguese women had notably fewer political, economic, or individual rights than the women of other European countries.

Currently, Portuguese women are prominent in many professions, namely medicine where women are over 40% of all physicians. Recent research also shows that the percentage of women among those working in scientific research is 43,5% .

Most recently, Assunção Esteves was elected President of the Portuguese Parliament, the first time a woman was elected for the second highest position in the Portuguese political hierarchy.

Also, the number of women in the Portuguese Parliament is above the global average, higher than the majority of developed G8 countries, an international study has revealed. This current legislature has a total of 62 women out of 230 members.

In 1979, Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo was the first and to date only woman to serve as Prime Minister of Portugal.

Regarding Ministries, in 2010 Portugal 31.3 % of Ministers were female, being ahead of countries such as Japan (where 11.85 of its Ministries are headed by a woman), Russia (16.7 %), Italy (21.7 %t), the UK (22.6 %t), France (26.3 %t) and Canada (29.7 %); Portugal was however behind the USA and Germany, whose governments both have 33.3% of female Ministers.

Countries with the largest female representation in politics in 2010 include Ruanda, Sweden, South Africa, Cuba, Iceland, Holland, Finland, Norway, Mozambique and Angola.

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