27 Days Left

A little homesick but a lot of fun As of today, I officially have 27 days left here in Cote d’Ivoire. While I have been a little homesick lately, the thought of leaving here in less than a month brings a nostalgic feeling and I realize, I am not quite ready to leave yet. I have met some amazing people and had some great experiences. I also realize that I have to take full advantage of my remaining days here. In that spirit, this week I attended and helped organize a conference on Women and the Law featuring a panel of professionals in “judicial careers” in CDI. Unlike in the United States, legal careers in civil law systems feature a variety of distinct positions. The panel featured four women: a Notary, an Attorney, a Magistrate, and a Paralegal all in the hope of enlightening women on careers in the law. In CDI, most people who practice law are considered jurists, a word which retains an entire different meaning here. A jurist is a person who has completed a bachelor and a master’s degree in law. To become a lawyer, or any other professional, the person must pass both the courses and the exam for the field (Unlike in the U.S., a judgeship is not an elected position but a professional career). As with most of the world, the law is a male-dominated field in Cote d’Ivoire as well. The lawyer on the panel, Maitre Fadika Coulibaly expressed the grave need for women in the legal field. Out of 542 lawyers, only 120 of them are female lawyers. The magistrate present on the panel was the only and the first female magistrate in the entire country. As for the Notary and Paralegal positions, women may not dominate but they do serve an important role. Thus, the conference was to encourage women to take on legal careers. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. Now that the weekend is here, I am looking forward to buying bright fabric to have custom-made clothing made!