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Handbook on combating gender stereotypes – Supreme Court of India

Handbook on combating gender stereotypes pdf

Handbook on combating gender stereotypes pdf

the Supreme Court introduced Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes focused on countering gender stereotypes. This resource is intended to offer guidance to judges, assisting them in refraining from the use of unsuitable gender-related language in court orders and legal paperwork.

This Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes aims offers guidance on how to avoid utilising harmful gender stereotypes, in particular those about women, in judicial decision making and writing. Each one of us sometimes employ stereotypes in our thoughts, words, and actions. We may rely on stereotypes inadvertently, because stereotypes are often internalised and ingrained in our thinking due to societal, cultural, and environmental conditioning. This can make it difficult to identify and avoid relying on stereotypes. However, challenging and overcoming stereotypes is essential to ensuring an equal, inclusive, and compassionate society. 

Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes words LIst

Stereotype promoting language (INCORRECT)
Alternative language (PREFERRED)
AdulteressWoman who has engaged in sexual relations outside of
AffairRelationship outside of marriage
BastardNon-marital child or, a child whose parents were not
Biological sex / biological male /
biological female
Sex assigned at birth
Born a girl / boyAssigned female / male at birth
Career womanWoman
Carnal intercourseSexual intercourse
Chaste womanWoman
Child prostituteChild who has been trafficked
Concubine / keepWoman with whom a man has had romantic or sexual
relations outside of marriage
Dutiful wife / Faithful wife / Good
wife / Obedient wife
Easy virtue (e.g., a woman of easy
Effeminate (when used pejoratively)Accurately describe the characteristic using a gender
neutral term (e.g., confident or responsible)
Eve teasingStreet sexual harassment
FaggotAccurately describe the individual’s sexual orientation
(e.g., homosexual or bisexual)
Fallen womanWoman
Feminine hygiene productsMenstrual products
Forcible rapeRape
HookerSex worker
Hormonal (to describe a woman’s
emotional state)
Use a gender neutral term to describe the emotion (e.g.,
compassionate or enthusiastic)
Indian woman / western womanWoman
Ladylike Use a gender neutral description of behaviour or characteristics (e.g., amusing or assertive)
Layabout / ShirkerUnemployed
Marriageable ageA woman who has attained the legal age required to marry
ProstituteSex worker
Provider / BreadwinnerEmployed or earning
Provocative clothing / dressClothing / dress
Ravished (e.g., she was “ravished” by him)Sexually harassed / assaulted or raped
Seductress Woman
Sex changeSex reassignment or gender transition
SpinsterUnmarried woman
Survivor or Victim?
An individual who has been affected by sexual violence may identify themselves as either a “survivor” or “victim”. Both terms are applicable unless the individual has expressed a preference, in which case the individual’s preference should be respected.
Unwed MotherMother
Violated (e.g., he violated her)Sexually harassed / assaulted or raped

The Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes aims to assist judges and the legal community in identifying, understanding and combating stereotypes about women. It contains a glossary of gender-unjust terms and suggests alternative words or phrases which may be used while drafting pleadings as well as orders and judgments. The Handbook identifies common stereotypes about women, many of which have been utilised by courts in the past and demonstrates why they are inaccurate and how they may distort the application of the law. The intention is not to criticise or cast doubt on past judgements but merely to show how stereotypes may unwittingly be employed. Finally, it encapsulates the current doctrine on key legal issues which may be relevant while adjudicating certain cases, particularly those concerning sexual violence. 

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Handbook on combating gender stereotypes pdf Handbook on combating gender stereotypes pdf