India’s First Woman Lawyer: 10 Lesser Known Facts About Cornelia Sorabji
She was the first female graduate of Bombay University to be admitted to the Allahabad High Court. In 1889, she became the first woman to read law at Oxford University, and also the first Indian to study at any British university
Cornelia Sorabji was the first female graduate from Bombay University, as well as the first woman to study law at Oxford University. The first female advocate in India, also the first woman to practice law in India and Britain. A Google Doodle celebrated her 151st birthday on 15 November 2017.
Here are 10 lesser known facts about Cornelia Sorabji you may not be known before:
1. She was the first Indian national to attend a British University, but before that, she was also the first woman to graduate in law from India as early as 1892.
2. Cornelia was born in Nashik to a Parsi missionary in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency of colonial India on this day in 1866.
3. It was her parents who encouraged her to take higher studies. They were advocates of women’s education and also established several girls schools in Pune.
4. When Cornelia took up law at Oxford, it was a time when universities were reluctant to accept female students. The National Indian Association helped her. Though she completed her course in 1894, she didn’t receive a degree. Oxford University started awarding degrees to women only since 1922.
5. After completion of her education, both India and England didn’t allow Cornelia to plead in courts. She returned to her homeland and became a legal advisor.
6. Cornelia supported the cause of purdahnashins and even succeeded in pursuing the government to appoint Lady Assistants to the courts to help women litigants.
7. To obtain a law degree, she appeared again for LLB examination at Bombay University. She became the first woman graduate from the institution. However, she wasn’t acknowledged as a barrister.
8. It was in 1923 that colonial courts opened their doors to women advocates. Next year, she began practising in Kolkata.
Feminism is a paradoxical ideology misunderstood by more than half of the brilliant minds. By definition “Feminism is the advocacy of women’s right on the ground of the equality of sexes”. However, the influencers and gatekeepers play their part really well in playing with the embodiment of the word feminism.
Feminism was coined by the French philosopher, Charles Fourier and can be traced back to have appeared in France for the first time.
India is also a Patriarchal society which by definition represents culture in which males as fathers or husbands are assumed to be in charge. This patrilineal system has subsisted for an indefinite period of time in history and now women have been accustomed to the submissive lifestyle.
Lewd Remarks for Feminists
Lately, I have been receiving slanderous remarks for being a Feminist. Latest amongst them was “Did my parents spoon fed me feminism?”.
“No. My parents did not raise a feminist. It is the society who did that to me and to every woman who feels the same about it”.
Another libellous remark by a man who feels provoked by feminism. “As long as democracy exist feminism thrive. The moment democracy paves the way to dictatorship, feminism will vanish.”
“Men ruled at the time of dictatorship and they still continue to rule, however, the only difference is that dictatorship has shifted to patriarchy.”
Feminism is the half-understood concept in the world. What is wrong in raising voice for your own rights and your community’s rights?. As long as men in the society continue to feel offended for a woman taking a stand for herself, nothing can be substituted. On the one side, women try to climb the ladder and rise above the predispositions while on the other side; someone just pulls off the ladder.
As long as men in the society continue to feel offended for a woman taking a stand for herself, nothing can be substituted. On the one side, women try to climb the ladder and rise above the predispositions while on the other side; someone just pulls off the ladder.
Henceforth, I bring forward some points which mistaken as an ideology of Feminism but indeed are fallacious.
The most obvious connotation by the society about feminism is that it entails ‘belittlement of a man’. Often Feminism is condemned by Men saying that it commands belittling of a man.
The advancement of women’s rights does not mean a ‘belittlement’ of men or their rights. Feminism merely seeks to establish the same rights and privileges for women that men have been holding for centuries – the right to walk freely in public spaces, the right over their own bodies and sexualities, the right to pursue their choice of education and career, to name a few examples. Yes, feminism does expose the privileges that men hold that women do not yet have, and uncloaking this privilege might make some men uncomfortable, as privilege is inextricably linked to oppression. Feminism can never be a paradox as long as women continue to remain oppressed by patriarchy – Feminism in India
It is imperative to know that feminism never edifies to hate men. It is the “Misandry” which ingrains prejudice against men and inculcates hatred towards men.
Feminism is bragged by only Females
Another misconception subsists that only women are termed as Feminist, which is not true. Can’t men be seen on the same side of the struggle? Of course yes, only on the off chance they choose to stand on the same side.
All feminist are career oriented
Feminist do not slander the housewives or domestic work. It recognises the woman who chooses to stick to household work as much as the woman who chooses career above anything else. It respects each individual’s choice regardless of the stereotypical notions.
Feminist condemns Relationships
As Feminism is misinterpreted with misandry, it is obvious to grasp that feminism inculcates a sense of independence in a woman. It should be noted that whether someone believes in relationships or not is completely their choice and not a code of feminism.
Feminism also strives to lessen the problems deep hearted in the society.
What do you think the women of our country still wrestles with?
The women of our country wrestle with multiple issues, which it would be impossible to speak about holistically, given the number of different identities and struggles that the vastness of our country embodies. Women are still being killed for being born, for daring to choose their own partners, for pursuing an education. Violence dogs our footsteps – whether it be sexual violence like street harassment, molestation, and rape, or emotional violence like moral policing, reinforcing regressive stereotypes that demean women and teaching us to be ashamed of everything about our bodies. Our rights to our bodies, and to make free choice are being violated – everyone is constantly telling women what to do. Women from marginalized communities face double marginalization – the oppression comes from multiple sources: their womanhood as well as their caste/class status, their gender identity, their sexual orientation, their disability, etc.- Feminism in India
Most women in India are married at an early age of 18 and are deemed to spend a major part of their lives in childbearing and raising children.
It is known that females in India have a ten percent higher drop out rate than males. Since unemployment is higher in India, it becomes easy for the employers to alter the law which deals with women. The Indian culture reprimand women who argue with men.
Indian women often do not take complete benefit of their constitutional rights because of the lack of awareness and information available. Women also tend to have poor use of voting rights because they possess low levels of political awareness and sense of political efficacy, neither are they encouraged to become informed about issues.
Female Infanticide is the deliberate killing of a female child by feeding poison or other harmful chemicals. The immoral sex selection even before the child is born pushes gender differences.
Dowry in India is another prevalent custom according to which the bride’s family gives durable goods, cash to bridegroom’s family. Not only this, many times the bride is tormented for dowry and domestically abused.
One of the reasons that girls have the lowest share of literacy as against boys is because of the fact that girls are needed to assist in household work. Mothers are illiterate due to which they have to be economically dependent on the man.
What is the essence of Womanhood?
The essence of womanhood is that there is no essence of womanhood. Feminism has been fighting the reductive stereotypes that are associated with being a woman for decades. It is these stereotypes, like women ‘naturally’ being more nurturing, emotional, caregiving, etc. that continue to pigeonhole us into certain roles. When women attempt to break out of these roles, they are faced with resistance and violence. Womanhood exists in any form that you can imagine – the only criteria of womanhood is identifying as a woman. The rest is all personal choice and expression – there is no “wrong way” of “being a woman”. – Feminism in India
The predicaments are unfathomable to look forward to and wipe each one of them. Nevertheless, these issues are suppressed and are never paid heed.