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  • "They don’t let us speak”: gender, collegiality, and interruptions in deliberations in the Brazilian Supreme Court
    (2024) DIEGO WERNECK ARGUELHES; Alvim, Juliana Cesario; Nogueira, Rafaela; Wang, Henrique
    In this paper, we examine a database containing court rulings and debates (acórdãos) of the Brazilian Supreme Court (“STF”) spanning from 1999 to 2018. Our objective is to analyze the relationship between gender and how judges behave when interacting with each other. Specifically, we investigate whether female judges are more likely to be interrupted by their colleagues during oral debates. Our data are built on real-time public interactions between the judges, as recorded in the Court's transcripts. The results show that female STF judges are interrupted more often than their male counterparts. While male judges display no specific effects, all three female judges in our data display a very significant and positive probability of being interrupted, as compared to their male colleagues participating in the same deliberations. These results show that, even in institutions designed to protect rights of political minorities, including women, gender dynamics, stereotypes and hierarchies can affect the functioning of courts in visible ways, with potential impacts on the rest of the judiciary and the legal profession. They also suggest that merely increasing the number of female judges, without addressing underlying gender dynamics and procedural rules in the judicial decision-making process, is insufficient to tackle the disadvantages women face within those institutions.