By Saloni Mathur:
I was travelling from Jaipur to Patiala a day ago and let’s just say as a matter of custom of every train, a ‘drawing-room’ talk was organized in my cabin. By ‘drawing-room’ talk, what I mean is any place where people (here members sitting in the cabin) become active citizens and get into a discussion where they mostly criticize, sometimes appreciate the policies of our country, discuss corruption prevailing in the country and similar other things. One such member asked me my profession and I replied that I was a student, pursuing law. And as we Indians have a habit of giving free advice, he gave me an expression which showed his disappointment to hear that I was a law student and his expression indicated the opinion of many Indians that girl as a student of law does not make a good combination. Being a law student I was inspired to write and express my views about this issue as I had also faced this situation when I had expressed my decision for choosing law as my career option.
I will highlight two main reasons for which people have a staunch opinion that women should not pursue law which are as follows. Firstly, they think that if a girl studies law, she learns to argue which shall have an adverse effect on her and as well her family as she runs the home and a girl in our society is usually rather I should say, ‘always’ a portrait of someone who is quiet, calm and composed. Well, I doubt the criteria for making the above implication. Yes, she learns to argue but she learns to argue in a court room not in bedroom. Why would she engage herself in arguing if there is no point to argue? Moreover, why should not she argue if she feels something wrong is happening to someone or to herself? Does she not have a right to express her views?
Secondly, they think that law somehow fails to provide a ‘secured’ job to women. They say that litigation is not a good option for women as it involves a lot of research, building contacts, meeting kinds of people that renders it difficult for her to manage things and time. So it is always suggested to a girl, that judiciary is the best option for her as it is ‘safe’ and ‘secured’. But I do not understand the reason of people for having such an unreasonable thinking. What is that peculiar thing of litigation which is safe and secured for men but not for women? If she is fighting for a right cause, none of the above things matter. And as far as judiciary is concerned, I think, it is all a matter of skills and interest. The concept of security just lies outside its scope.
It is ironic that on one hand, various attempts are being made to remove gender inequality and to empower women by enacting and amending various legislations, while, on the other hand, this kind of discrimination regarding the capability of females, still prevails in the minds of many people. How are we going to remove such baseless thinking from their minds? I think after so much development, it is still very much a male dominated society where females are considered to be of weaker sex. Where is our right to equality which guarantees us no discrimination on the basis of sex and where is our right to freedom which guarantees us freedom to choose and practice any profession? I guess this is the situation where it becomes imminent for a female law student to ‘argue’ for her rights on this forum and not in the court rooms as they say “Well behaved women rarely make history”.