María Ascensión Chirivella Marín (1893 – 1980) was the first woman admitted to practise law in Spain in January 1922.
In Spain, judges are not appointed, they are required to take an exam and women were not allowed to participate in these exams until 1961. The first Judge to pass the exam was Concepción Carmen Venero who became the first woman judge in Spain – a Minor’s Court – in February 1971; two years later Mª Belen del Valle Díaz passed the exam to be a prosecutor attorney.
Currently, there are 11 women in the Supreme Court, 29 women in the Spanish Audiencia Nacional and 6 women have been judges in the Constitutional Court, at the present moment Encarnación Roca and Maria Luisa Balaguer.
Women judges represent the 52.7% of the judges in Spain but only 13% are in the highest courts.
Written by Diana Carrillo, Spanish practising lawyer