Gender Imbalance is something that we notice everywhere pan India.
But unfortunately, there is one profession, which is supposed to fight for gender Justice has the most imbalanced Gender Ratio.
Unfortunately, the number of women in Litigation field is very less even today. You may still find women lawyers in Metro cities but in rural areas the number decreases.
We have many young girls who enroll in law colleges but not many enter into the profession. So here is my general observation about the same.
I have been enrolled with the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa since 2010. I was around 23 during that time. I had completed my Bachelors in Mass Media (Journalism). So by the time you complete your 3 years law degree post graduation, you are around 23, which is almost the ideal marriage age for girls in India. During my law college days then, a few of my friends were already married or engaged or their parents had enrolled them with every possible matrimonial sites.
Like Engineering Graduates or MBA’s lawyers are generally not absorbed by big corporates with fancy packages. You need to have a couple of years of practice under a Senior Advocate or a Law Firm before you can set up your own practice and once you set your own practice then sky is the limit for you. The other option is to work with a law firm or to work with a corporate or Government Job.
Stereotype against women lawyers
We still live in a society, where people do not appreciate that women can have an opinion on Politics or Social Issues. Women who have opinions are not accepted in social groups and shunned. I live in a Metro and yet a lot of my kid’s friend’s parents barely know that I am a Lawyer. We do face a lot of discrimination even today. There is a stereotype that women lawyers are always fighting and imposing their ideas on others. Another hilarious stereotype is that women lawyers will always support women. So any statement that we make, we are always mocked for the same. This lack of support from the society also plays a huge role in a lot of women not taking up litigation as a profession. The reason I am mentioning the role of the society is so that people understand and sensitize themselves about different professional’s lives.
Whatever, we women we may do , we are always judged by our marital status. Who will marry a girl who stays out so late ?
Who will marry a girl who only talks to men all day ?
Who will marry a girl who talks so dominantly to men ?
A lot of Women Lawyers end up getting Divorced themselves.
A few questions and practices still existing in our society, openly discouraging women from choosing litigation.
Long Working hours
Being a litigation lawyer is not easy. There have been times when I had not slept for 2-3 days continuously while preparing for a case. Long Working hours are a part of the profession. Yes, it does affect your physical health, mental health and relationship with your family members. When I was working earlier with a law firm, all I did on Weekends or on Sunday was just sleep. In legal profession, things do not happen overnight. Sometimes, we just have to start working right in the middle of the night because just like medical field we also have our own set of emergencies.
I remember, a friend of mine had told me during my early days, that most of the lady lawyers or senior counsels, who are practicing in the Bombay High Court, are either single, or married to a good legal family, where everyone is a lawyer or a businessman. So think wisely before selecting your life partner.
Changing the mindset of people is difficult, some people are born with a particular mindset but we definitely need to do something about surviving in this profession for long. We start by first being determined to continue or practice at a smaller scale initially. Do not give up your practice just because somebody is rude to you or just because somebody comments on your professional life. You will have to face stereotypes and differentiation due to your gender, but be consistent. Learn to be a better manager, that itself will save a lot of time.
Some tips for better time management
- In order to save time on long endless phone calls and long meetings, I generally ask the clients to send me a brief note about their problem. So it gives the client sufficiently to think about their problem, and saves your time by just reading and understanding that one simple note. Because some people can talk endlessly.
- Do not file a case unnecessarily. A lot of people take up dead up matter just to satisfy the ego of the client. Please do not do the same, because you may loose a client temporarily but you can gain a lot of mental peace.
- Be strict about your personal time, Take weekends off compulsorily. Your personal time has to be divided between your family and for yourself. If you do not have health then there is no use working for such long hours.
Remember that in life, family and career both are important.
Women can have career and family life, they just have to be blended in the right proportion.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge