Cathrine Holst: "Descriptive representation of women in international court"

In this article, published in Journal of Social Philosophy, Cathrine Holst re-visits Jane Mansbridge's approach to descriptive representation in light of recent discussions of women's representation in international courts.

Abstract

In this article Cathrine Holst re-visits Jane Mansbridge's approach to descriptive representation in light of recent discussions of women's representation in international courts. Mansbridge develops her arguments with parliaments in mind—do her arguments hold for international courts? Are the costs she lists equally costly, and the benefits equally beneficial, given the different aims and functions of an international bench? And are descriptive representation measures more easily justified in some courts than in others? What is the normative relevance of the varying empirical features of courts?

The article offers a comprehensive framework for assessing descriptive representation in international courts that addresses a wider range of normative concerns than previous contributions; that is “function-sensitive” in the sense of avoiding considerations of costs and benefits irrespective of institutional aim and function (Erman, 2018); and that specifies the relationship between normative assessment and factual scope conditions, linking normative theorizing on the need for “diversity” in courts to empirical research questions.

It does so with a focus on the distinctive case of women's representation at the international bench; however, with proper adaptations the proposed framework is relevant for assessments of other claims for descriptive representation as well, pertaining for example to race or ethnicity.

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Published Oct. 18, 2021 11:04 AM - Last modified Oct. 18, 2021 11:04 AM