Top 10 indian female lawyers in 2023

India's Legal System Inches Closer to Gender Parity with Women on the Rise
women lawyers

Indian women lawyers have been pioneers for future generations by challenging societal stereotypes to create a fair and equitable society. Although the number of women in the legal profession remains relatively low, India is making progress towards gender parity. Recently, the country celebrated a historic moment when three women were sworn in as Supreme Court judges for the first time.

One of the notable women appointed as a Supreme Court judge is BV Nagarathna, who is expected to become India's first female Chief Justice in 2027. As the legal system strives for greater inclusivity, many anticipate that diversity in the judiciary will result in improved legal reform and a safer society for all. This is particularly significant for women, who have traditionally been marginalized in society.

This is a compilation of remarkable women lawyers from various regions of India, who have made significant contributions to enhance the country's legal system. Despite facing discouragement and societal biases that suggested the legal profession wasn't for them, these women shattered the glass ceiling and persisted.

1. Cornelia Sorabji 


Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to practice law in India, was a trailblazer among her peers who persevered tirelessly to break through gender barriers in courtrooms nationwide. In addition to her legal work, she was heavily involved in social reform activities and played an active role in various organizations, such as the Bengal branch of the National Council for Women in India, The Federation of University Women, and the Bengal League of Social Service. Her dedication to social work earned her the prestigious Kaiser-I-Hind Gold medal from the Indian government in 1907. Sorabji's impact was significant, and she played a key role in the abolition of Sati and child marriages. Eventually, she abandoned her legal career in 1929 to devote herself fully to social reform efforts.

2. Mithan Jamshed Lam

Mithan Jamshed Lam was the inaugural woman barrister and lawyer to practice in the Bombay High Court. As an active member of the All-India Women's Conference, she was elected as its President from 1961 to 1962. In recognition of her substantial contributions to society, she was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor, in 1962.

3. Violet Alva

Violet Alva made history as the first woman lawyer to argue before a High Court. Besides her legal career, she was a journalist and made further strides as the first woman to preside over Rajya Sabha. In 1944, she founded a women's magazine, Indian Women. Notably, Alva was the first woman to be elected to the Standing Committee of the All India Newspaper Editors Conference in 1952. Her social involvement extended to a broad range of organizations, including the Young Women's Christian Association, the Business and Professional Women's Association, and the International Federation of Women Lawyers.

4. Sheila Didi


Sheila Didi, a prominent female lawyer in Chandigarh, was recognized for her commitment to feminism and promoting women's empowerment. In addition to her legal career, she served as the President of Punjab Sthri Sabha, dedicating her life to uplifting underprivileged communities. She was among the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the global initiative, 1,000 Women, in 2005.

5. Ananda Bai

Ananda Bai was the only female law graduate in the Madras Presidency and commenced her practice in the Supreme Court following a rigorous apprenticeship under VV Srinivasa Iyengar in 1929. Although law wasn't Bai's initial career choice, she pursued it after facing rejection in government services.

6. Rebecca John


In 1990, Rebecca John entered the legal profession during a time when there were very few women practicing criminal law. She made history as the first female senior lawyer in the field and was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court in 2013. With a formidable practice in criminal law, John appears regularly in the apex court, appellate, and trial courts.

7. Indira Jaising


Indira Jaising is a well-known figure in the field of human rights legal activism. Alongside her husband Anand Grover, she established Lawyers Collective, an organization that advocates for people's rights, in 1981. In 2009, Jaising became the first woman to be appointed as the Additional Solicitor General of India. She has fought for the rights of Mumbai's homeless residents, championed environmental causes, spoken out against extrajudicial killings in Manipur, and is widely regarded as one of India's top lawyers.

8. Karuna Nundy


Karuna Nundy, a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court, has made significant contributions to the gender justice movement in India. She played a key role in securing justice for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and was also involved in drafting the criminal law amendment bill in 2013. In addition, she has shared her thoughts on feminism and women's rights, which you can learn more about.

9. Menaka Guruswamy


Menaka Guruswamy played a significant role in the development of the Right to Education Act, which required private schools to accept disadvantaged children. She was also one of the lawyers who led the campaign to abolish Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized homosexuality.

10. Meenakshi Arora


Meenakshi Arora is a senior counsel practicing in the Supreme Court of India and has made significant contributions to protecting women's rights. She is an authoritative voice in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act of 2013, which seeks to safeguard the rights of working women.




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