Social Background, Gender Inequality and New Communication Technology in Legal Profession: A Study of Women Lawyers in Allahabad (India)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Richa SINGH, Centre for Globalization and Development Studies, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, India
Legal profession in India has traditionally been a profession dominated by the male and the urban based lawyers. In post-independence period, although the profession has become more inclusive for rural, lower and middle order castes but it continuously excluded the women from the profession who had a very low representation in the legal profession. In post-globalization era, the entry of the women in legal profession has been significantly increased. The patterns of their participation in legal profession are, however, very different from their male counterparts at the level of district courts, High Courts and Supreme (Apex) court. At the district level, most of the women lawyers work independently and handle their cases themselves. On the other hand, in High Courts and Supreme Court, they mainly work as associates of senior (male) lawyers, particularly while in appearing for arguments in the cases. This creates a kind of gender inequality in the legal profession and give rise to two categories of women lawyers in legal profession of India: i. Independent Women Lawyers; and ii. Associate Women Lawyers. The present paper makes an attempt to explore the social background and patterns of the work organization of both categories of women lawyers in district and high court bar of Allahabad through a highly structured questionnaire. The study also focuses on the patterns of using new communication technology by these women lawyers in organization of their work.