What the Paltry Number of Senior Women Advocates Reveals About India's Legal Culture

Clutching her new advocate’s gown, Gayatri Singh hurried down the second floor corridor of the Bombay High Court when it reopened in the second week of June. Singh, 60, a prominent human rights lawyer, had in May been named one of the court’s senior advocates, a prestigious designation handed out to a handful of lawyers by high courts across the country every year, signalled by a distinctive gown similar to what judges wear.

When the Bombay High Court list was issued, Singh become the only woman of seven who had been designated a senior. Last year, just one woman was designated alongside 21 men, after an eight-year gap.