Patterns of Women’s Entry into the Lower Judiciary

 

Designed and curated by akankshya (akankshya@epw.in)

This feature is based on the article Breaking through the Old Boys’ Club: The Rise of Women in the Lower Judiciary by Sumathi Chandrashekaran, Diksha Sanyal, Shreya Tripathy and Tarika Jain. 

This article presents, for the first time, information on the evolution of the representation of women in India’s lower judiciary in recent years. It also adds to the limited, but emerging, literature on the impact of diversity on judicial institutions. Between 2007 and 2017, while the number of women entering as judges in the civil judge (junior division) cadre in most states has definitely increased, the number of women entering the cadre of district judges via direct recruitment from the bar has remained low and relatively stagnant. Law is a discipline where the gender gap in enrolment between men and women remains high.
Despite this, the increase in the entry of women into the civil judge (junior division) cadre signifies that more women are seeing careers as judges as viable options over other legal services. This increase may be somewhat attributable to the recruitment method, which attracts fresh law graduates to write the examination. This increasing entry should also be seen in the larger context of the improvement of socio-economic indicators for women’s empowerment.