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Accidental FeminismGender Parity and Selective Mobility among India's Professional Elite$
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Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182537

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 30 November 2021

The Accidental Emergence of India’s Elite Women Lawyers

The Accidental Emergence of India’s Elite Women Lawyers

(p.1) Introduction The Accidental Emergence of India’s Elite Women Lawyers
(p.iii) Accidental Feminism

Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the emergence of India's elite women lawyers. Despite being agnostic to the cause of feminism, and using the governance language of meritocracy and modernity, many elite law firms in India have managed to produce the kinds of environments that more agentic organizations with committed interests in diversity have failed to produce in other sites. Not only are women well represented at entry and more senior levels in these law firms, they also experience their environments rather differently from their peers in similar kinds of organizations globally and locally. In doing so, these firms have not only managed to create historically unimaginable spaces of possibility for women, they have also managed to set path dependencies for organizations to have more (possible intentionally) feminist futures. These can be considered as accidentally feminist organizations. The chapter explains that the book reveals a set of structural conditions that fortuitously have come together to create environments of emancipation for these women lawyers: including organizational novelty and the imagined forces of globalization, a particularly receptive interactional audience, and the specific contingencies of a particular cultural moment in India's neoliberal history.

Keywords:   India, elite women lawyers, feminism, elite law firms, diversity, feminist organizations, globalization

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