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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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(p.24) Market Liberalization and the Changing Nature of Professional Work

(p.23) One Foci
Accidental Feminism

Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen

Princeton University Press

This chapter outlines the macro market reforms that framed the emergence of India's corporate legal elite. It begins by describing the exceptional mobility of these particular global professionals, highlighting the ways that their case differs from the kinds of mobility and praxis widely associated with other Indian professionals, both historically and in the present day. The chapter then uses the variations between the different kinds of global work in India to describe how the novel forms of institutional emergence within the legal profession were especially crucial in establishing the unique — and accidental — circumstances that allowed for the emergence of these women lawyers in elite transactional firms. Two specific consequences of liberalization reforms were central to this project's research design because they offered purchase for analytical sampling across cases. First, while some professional practices like litigation remained unaffected by liberalization measures, others, like international transactional law and management consulting, only emerged as a consequence of the foreign direct investment that liberalization permitted. Second, in addition to new kinds of work, market liberalization also introduced new kinds of work and workplaces.

Keywords:   market reforms, India, corporate legal elite, mobility, Indian professionals, women lawyers, liberalization reforms, market liberalization, global work

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