International Research Collaboratives

Early Women Lawyers in the Legal Profession


Jhuma Sen

This International Research Collaborative critically examines what it meant to be an early woman in the legal profession. It engages with two central questions, first, what were the complex challenges that the early women lawyers navigated in the legal profession, including the primary challenge of the male exclusivity of the bar, bench and the academy, and second, how did the legal profession respond to the entry of the first wave of women legal professionals. The first question will in turn necessarily interrogate the conditions of emergence of these legal professionals including global as well as regional phenomenon like the advent of early “feminists” including the “professional women” in the nineteenth century who demanded a greater access to the public space and public life. The second question will map the response from the bar, bench and the academy to women’s entry in the legal profession. Did the legal profession transform itself while women were negotiating their professional space, including the terms on which they were required to conduct themselves?


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