Patriarchy affecting women’s career progress: Supreme Court judge

Updated on Jul 24, 2022 01:10 AM IST

Indian society is deeply patriarchal, culturally and economically, and is severely affecting the career progress of working women, Supreme Court justice S Ravindra Bhat said on Saturday.

Supreme Court justice S Ravindra Bhat.
Supreme Court justice S Ravindra Bhat.
By, New Delhi

Indian society is deeply patriarchal, culturally and economically, and is severely affecting the career progress of working women, Supreme Court justice S Ravindra Bhat said on Saturday.

Addressing a conference on Women in Power & Decision Making organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), justice Bhat said men disproportionately enjoy positions in the highest rungs of most professions and thus, deprive women of taking crucial decisions.

“In our societal setup, which places unequal burden on women to handle only a certain type of responsibility pertaining to care giving, it may seem difficult to empower them to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling, but in fact it begins with basic steps. It requires industry leaders and stakeholders like all of us to identify the unique issues faced by them,” Justice Bhat said.

Women are mostly given ornamental positions in organisations for the sake of representation which does more harm than any good, he said. “Meaningful representation in real sense will yield positive results which should be focused upon,” he said.

“It perhaps needs no elaboration that Indian society is deeply patriarchal, culturally and economically, severely affecting the career progress of working women… Many women stall out in the middle zone or feel the need to step off the career track entirely not because of explicit discrimination or lack of ambition or competence, or ability, but because of numerous smaller factors and daily hassles,” the judge said.

Working from home could have been a possible solution for women but that has also turned out to be a cause of greater burnout since domestic responsibilities are not equally divided between a man and woman, the top court judge said.

“The work from home facilities have served as a double edged sword as in many professions, it is causing greater burnout among women for whom the lines between work and home are being severely blurred to their detriment,” justice Bhat said.

In the context of the Indian judiciary, Justice Bhat said that gender representation has historically been a concern.

“There are roughly only 83 women judges out of a total 703 high court judges, i.e 11.8%, with Tamil Nadu having the highest number of female judges (13), i.e., 23%,” he said.

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