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Gender bar not raised, male lawyers outnumber women

Although women form the major workforce in scores of MNCs and IT firms that dot the city, they are yet to make a mark in the Gurgaon district court.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2011 00:40 IST
HT Correspondent

Although women form the major workforce in scores of MNCs and IT firms that dot the city, they are yet to make a mark in the Gurgaon district court.

Blame it on gender discrimination or poor remuneration, women are grossly under-represented compared to their male counterparts.

As against 1,200 practising male lawyers, there are only 60-70 women in the district bar. Also, of the total 3,149 registered lawyers, only 250 are women. District Bar Association president Kulbhushan Bhardwaj said only very few women lawyers turn up regularly.

However, the neighbouring Faridabad district bar has more women representation. Of the total 1,800 registered members, nearly 250 are women.

According to Faridabad bar president Sanjeev Choudhary, 90% women advocates come to court regularly. Renu Singh, a sociology professor, said, “Women lawyers are often looked down upon by traditional families here, so much so that getting married becomes a difficult task for them,” she said. “Moreover, many women lawyers have to quit the practice after marriage,” she added.

Advocate Ayesha Matharu, 24, lives in DLF City but prefers to practice in a Delhi court.

“I started my career from the local court here but moved to Delhi within a few days. I didn't like what I saw here. I wasn't comfortable and felt apprehensive since there are very few women lawyers. People would stare me down,” she said.

Even the presence of family and juvenile courts here has not helped attract women.

Advocate Harish Malhotra said, “There is a stigma attached to women taking up certain professions and law is one among them.” Women lawyers who work in the Gurgaon court, however, attribute the trend to the rise of corporate law firms which offer women a safe and comfortable office environment along with good money.

Sunita Srivastava, who has been working in the city court for over 20 years, said, “Unlike Delhi where most law firms hire the young crop of lawyers at high salaries, not many corporate lawyers work in the Gurgaon court.”