20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice's Gender Bias Taskforce Report

In the early 1990s, the then Chief Justice of Western Australia, Chief Justice Malcolm, established a Gender Bias Taskforce. The Taskforce delivered a report in 1994 which suggested numerous ways to enhance women's participation and promotion in the legal profession in Western Australia and to combat gender bias in the law ("1994 Report").

WLWA conducted a 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Report:

  1. Reviewing the extent to which the recommendations made in the 1994 Report have been implemented;
  2. To the extent that any recommendations in the Report have not been implemented, investigating and making recommendations in relation to whether, and if so how, those recommendations may now be implemented;
  3. Investigating the extent to which gender bias continues to exist in the law and the administration of justice in Western Australia, and making recommendations for its elimination; and
  4. Consulting with such government agencies, organisations, groups or persons as is appropriate.

As with the 1994 Report, the 20th Anniversary Review focused on:

  1. Women's access to justice and court environment (convenor Gabrielle Clarke)
  2. Career paths for women in the legal profession (convenors Jane Power and Anne Wood)
  3. Appointment of judiciary (convenor Ros Fogliani)
  4. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander women and girls and the law (convenor Ros Fogliani and Jenny Kiss)
  5. Victims of crime (convenor Elspeth Hensler)
  6. Restraining orders (convenors Elspeth Hensler and Janette McCahon)
  7. Education: law making; civil laws which discriminate (convenor Elspeth Hensler)
  8. Criminal laws which discriminate against women (convenor Catherine Fletcher)
  9. Punishment of women (convenor Catherine Fletcher)

The Steering Committee for the 20th Anniversary Review is the Hon Justice Pritchard, Cheryl Gwilliam, Gabrielle Clarke, Elspeth Hensler, Cathryn Greville, Catherine Fletcher, Ros Fogliani, Jenny Kiss, Janette McCahon, Jane Power and Anne Wood.

Updates on the progress of the Project are available on our Latest News tab, or by entering "Gender bias" into the search bar. Please note that some items are members only content, and you will need to be logged in as a member to view them.

We gratefully acknowledge the support that we have received for the 20th Anniversary Review from the Department of the Attorney General, the Public Purposes Trust, the Department of Communities: Women's Interests, the Chief Justice, the College of Law and Francis Burt Chambers.

The 20th Anniversary Review produced 197 recommendations aimed at Government, organisations (firms) and societies/associations.

If you would like to contribute to or comment on the implementation of the recommendations following the 20th Anniversary Review, please contact us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know what your area of interest is, and how you would like to contribute.


For further information on the 1994 Report and the work done subsequent to it, please see the links below to the:

  • 1994 Report of the Chief Justice Taskforce on Gender Bias;
  • 1997 Progress Report on the Gender Bias Taskforce Report (compiled by the Women's Policy Development Office in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice);and
  • Report on the Retention of Legal Practioners: March 1999 (a joint initiative of Women Lawyers of WA and the Law Society of WA).


1994 Report of the Chief Justice's Taskforce on Gender Bias

In 1994, the Chief Justice's Taskforce on Gender Bias released its report. The Report contained 198 recommendations to address gender bias affecting women in respect of a broad range of issues or areas: education, access to justice, women in the legal profession, appointments to the judiciary, the courts, women as victims, aboriginal women and violence, particular laws, police officers and punishment of women.

To view the report, click on the following attachments (each chapter is a separate attachment):

We thank the Honourable C Christian Porter MLA, Attorney General, and the Honourable Justice W Martin, Chief Justice of Western Australia, for permitting us to make the report publicly available on our website.


1997 Progress Report

Also attached is the 1997 Progress Report which sets out the State Government's responses to the issues raised in the 1994 Report of the Chief Justice's Taskforce on Gender Bias. To view, click on the following pages (separated into two attachments):


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