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Women have made it big across sectors solely on merit: Solicitor General of India

New Delhi: At a time when there is greater focus on gender equality across sectors is in the country, several women have excelled across sectors including the legal profession and there are many eminent professionals who have made it big solely on the back of their merit, said Mr. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India on Saturday.

Speaking at a programme ‘Celebrating the Women in the legal fraternity and their remarkable journey’ organized by Society of Indian Law Firms Ladies Group (SLG), the Solicitor General said that historically there is been a wrong notion being spread that women are a weaker sex and they were the legislative obstructions in participation of women in the legal professional in the pre-independence era, which have hampered their growth and participation in profession.

Urging people to refrain from tokenism, Mr. Mehta said: “Based solely on merit, solely on their competence ladies have prospered, professionally, financially, socially, culturally, politically, in every which way.”

“You dont need tokenism, you deserve what you deserve. There is a discussion, some percentage to be kept for the ladies in the judiciary, but that is not an honor being conferred upon the ladies,” he said.

Speaking on the system of administration of justice, Dr. Lalit Bhasin, President, Society of Indian Law Firms, noted that 35% of the subordinate judges are women and in the case of High Courts, it is 13% and in Supreme Court there are only three women judges.

Dr Lalit Bhasin, President SILF (Society of Indian Law Firms)

Calling for greater participation of women, Dr. Bhasin said: “As per figures of 2022, 12% women are in the constabulary level and the number declines to 8% at the officer level. In prison administration only 14% are women and they are all stuck in the lower ranks. In the High Courts in seven decades there have been only 16 women chief justices.”

“In all these years of existence the National Human Rights Commission which should be a shining example of fairness including gender justice, there has been no woman commissioner at all. These need to be addressed,” he added.

Further, pitching for greater diversity, at the programmed organized by SILF, Ms. Shweta Bharti, Managing Partner, Hammurabi & Solomon Partners said: “Gender equality and diversity also brings about economics and business case. Diverse teams are considered to be better decision makers. In one of the studies, it was found that diverse teams have a 60% improvement in decision making.”

She added that gender diverse teams outperformed individual decision makers in most cases. Teams which are diverse in geography, gender and age made better decisions and diversity also improves performance of individuals, Ms. Bharti added.

The day long event organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day, also had sessions on ‘Setbacks and Strides: Journey Ahead’ with panelists including Justice Mini Pushkarna, Judge, High Court of Delhi, Ms. Priya Hingorani, Senior Advocate, among others. The other sessions featured panel discussios on ‘Emerging Challenges for Women in Law: Has Gender Lost its Relevance’ and ‘Court to Board: Women’s Participation in Decision Making’.

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