Nevertheless They Persisted: Gendered Frameworks and Socialization Advantages in Indian Professional Service Firms

Canadian Review of Sociology, Vol.55, No.3, 2018

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2019-24

30 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2018 Last revised: 12 Apr 2019

See all articles by Swethaa Ballakrishnen

Swethaa Ballakrishnen

University of California, Irvine School of Law; Harvard University - Center on the Legal Profession

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

This article uses the Indian case to offer further nuance to these narratives about the impact of global cultures on the gendered experience of professional work. I find that while gender certainly infiltrates all workspaces through the framework of a background identity, there remain occupational and organizational differences in the ways in which women experience their environments. Particularly, while Indian women lawyers overall are more disadvantaged in many ways than their international counterparts, women lawyers in very elite law firms do much better than both their local and global peers. A confluence of factors might be responsible for this unusual experience of professional work, but this Article highlights the importance of one set of supply side dynamics: the variations in socializing experiences and expectations before professionals enter elite firms. In doing so, it adds to the literature that suggests the importance of early training and educational socialization for gender egalitarian outcomes in the workforce (e.g. Cech 2015; Seron et al. 2016). It also lends credence to the “pipeline” fix for gender equality by highlighting the substantive influence of increased representation on the ways men and women both think about their careers. Further, it reveals the particular global stickiness of gender frameworks (Ridgeway 2011): all sites are gendered, but the specification of these gendered identities are impacted by their respective embedded cultural contexts.

Keywords: Gender, Professional Work, Socialization, Gendered Frameworks, Legal Profession, Global Legal Education, South Asia, India

Suggested Citation

Ballakrishnen, Swethaa, Nevertheless They Persisted: Gendered Frameworks and Socialization Advantages in Indian Professional Service Firms (2018). Canadian Review of Sociology, Vol.55, No.3, 2018; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2019-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3163611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3163611

Swethaa Ballakrishnen (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

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Irvine, CA 92697-1000
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Harvard University - Center on the Legal Profession ( email )

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