News Columns & Blogs

Local bench a men's club

The lack of challengers to the eight Sedgwick County District Court judges who are up for re-election prompted Chief Judge James Fleetwood to suggest to The Eagle, "So far, people seem to be happy with us." As Thursday's filing deadline draws near, though, there remains one glaring problem with the court — its lack of gender diversity. Nationally, women hold 26 percent of all state-level judgeships, according to a new report by the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society at the University of Albany, State University of New York. In Kansas, women hold 17 percent of state judgeships. Yet there are no women — none — among the 28 judges on the Sedgwick County District Court. Doesn't 50.4 percent of the county's population deserve some measure of representation on the court? Nationally, concluded the authors of the SUNY study: "The gender gap cannot be attributed to the lack of women who are qualified to serve on the bench, but to the lack of opportunity and access afforded to women."