Beyond Labels: Supreme Court’s 30-Page Handbook On Overcoming Gender Stereotypes

In the document, they have listed 40 words that have been red-flagged for usage.

A handbook was published and released by the Supreme Court of India where the correct alternatives to the stereotypical names used for men, women, children and transgender are given. This comes as a landmark announcement as it highlights how gender-based stereotypes have been prevalent in our society. This handbook is particularly issued for legal discourse and proceedings. In the document, they have listed 40 words that have been red-flagged for usage.

The words, phrases and stereotypical assumptions are to be discontinued in their usage by judges and lawyers in court. This handbook is created to highlight the incorrect assumptions made about women in particular. These stereotypes have existed in our society for centuries and it’s time that the usage of such terms be cordoned off.

For instance, the term prostitute is replaced by sex worker, housewife is replaced by homemaker, and eve-teasing is replaced by street sexual harassment. These are just a few words out of the 40 newly replaced names.

The glossary has identified words like ‘career woman’, and ‘Indian woman’ and replaced them with a woman. Derogatory terms like slut, harlot, and seductress are not to be used when talking about women. This is a practice adopted to bring equality to our community. Law is unbiased ad equal for all and this is one step in ensuring that all genders are treated with the same respect and recognition.

Other than terms, the document also throws light on the use of certain phrases that are commonly used in the court of law. They are objectionable and are prohibited now. Stereotypical statements like ‘women are overly emotional, illogical and cannot take decisions or All women want to have children are not generic statements. The above-mentioned sentences are highly subjective and differ from person to person. Generalising people on the basis of gender is highly inappropriate.




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