Supreme Court Unveils Handbook to Eliminate Gender Stereotypes

  • 18 Aug 2023

Recently, India's Chief Justice took a crucial stride towards gender equality in the judicial realm by launching a handbook that seeks to revolutionize the language used in legal proceedings concerning women.

Key Points

  • Empowering Judicial Discourse: The Supreme Court's handbook confronts gender biases ingrained in legal language, fostering equitable judicial communication.
  • Counteracting Gender Stereotypes: The handbook equips judges and legal practitioners to recognize and rectify gender biases pervasive in legal language.
  • Challenging Out-dated Terms: The handbook exposes words and phrases inadvertently propagating gender biases and advocates for their transformation.
  • Progressive Language Transformation: The handbook replaces terms like "career woman" with "woman” redefines "eve teasing" as "street sexual harassment," and simplifies "forcible rape" to "rape."
  • Purpose of the Handbook: The Supreme Court's initiative seeks to reshape legal language, guiding judges away from perpetuating stereotypes and promoting dignity and equality.
  • Examples of Gender-Sensitive Language: The handbook offers alternative terms to rectify gender biases, such as replacing 'concubine/keep' with 'woman with romantic/sexual relations outside marriage.'
  • Impact on Society: The handbook highlights the link between language, law, and societal perceptions, emphasizing the need for unbiased legal discourse.
  • Global Efforts to Counter Gender Biases: This initiative aligns with global efforts to counter gender biases in judicial language, mirroring projects like Canada's "shadow judgments" and India's Feminist Judgement Project.