I offer services on three tracks:
- For Publishers in law and the social sciences
- Author Support in addressing legal review queries
I come to this work with 30 years of experience – teaching in a law school, building programmes in NGOs, serving in a leadership position as an academic administrator in a publicly funded institute for advanced research, and publishing 26 books (edited and authored) with all the major national and international publishers, and over a hundred research articles and an equal number of opinion pieces in various media platforms. In all this work I have built on the commitment to academic rigour, the theory of intersectionality for an Indian/South Asian context, and thinking through institutional policy on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Particularly relevant also, is my membership of the Expert Group on the Equal Opportunity Commission that put in place a concrete draft for the setting up of a Commission by the Government of India. My three-year stint as Civil Society Advisory Governor (CSAG), Commonwealth Foundation, London, saw me build global conversations around furthering DEI goals and foregrounding the Indian experience. With this background, I offer specialist professional advice to individuals, organizations and institutions, publishers and authors on problem solving, drafting policy and putting institutional mechanisms for redress in place through a dialogic process driven by radical empathy that takes in the needs of diverse entities and participants.
On an individual, interpersonal level, I offer professional socio-legal counselling and advisory service, where I provide counselling support and legal advice to persons facing difficulties in personal relationships and in institutional contexts. In this endeavour I draw on my three decadal experience of building socio-legal services in the NGO sector and working to end Gender-Based Violence through personal support to survivors, and designing of institutional programmes. As a lawyer with long experience in advising survivors and employers on issues related to gender-based violence and harassment, I provide pre-litigation support to survivors and witnesses of violence, and institutional entities, rendering the law transparent and legible, and advising on possible legal steps to end violence. For litigants who are unable to understand the legal process, I help them read their case papers and the applicable legal protections, so that they may engage more effectively with legal counsel.
On an institutional level for a range of entities – organisations, institutions and corporates across the range – I offer advice on furthering DEI goals in structure, hiring practices, and systemic mechanisms. As a sociologist and lawyer, my work has been built on collaboration and dialogue. With a commitment to constitutional values and expertise in interpreting its fundamental precepts that must guide employers, employees, sponsors and participants in carrying on the work of the organisation, I offer advice on how non-discrimination, substantive equality, full and diverse participation, and barrier free access may be embedded in institutional structures and day-to-day functioning.
In putting a fundamental commitment to intersectionality in place in workplaces, I help institutions address critical concerns relating to the building of institutional cultures conducive to the realisation of the goals of DEI – ensuring participation and communication across social location – caste, tribe, community, ethnicity, race, region, place of birth, language, ability, indigeneity, gender, sexual orientation or any other. Empathy, fairness and justice sit at the core of this process.
Diversity mandates positive steps in ensuring representation of persons from the widest range of social locations at all levels of institutions – eliminating importantly, a pyramidal structure with persons from disadvantaged groups concentrated at the lowest level in institutional hierarchies, as this is perpetuates discrimination rather than eliminating it. The commitment to diversity is built on the acknowledgment of the intellectual vitality of diverse participation and the consequent qualitative enrichment of workplaces. Diversity is possible only through its interlinking with the principle of equity that recognises that social hierarchies do not offer level playing fields to all. Equity mandates the institutionalisation of special provisions to ensure participation of persons from locations that have been historically disadvantaged and subject to discrimination. Inclusion is only achieved in diverse and equitable institutional workplaces. Inclusion as a goal does not stop at representation at all levels, it also mandates the inclusion of diverse knowledge and worldviews in the imagining of work, policy and outreach of organisations – with a special focus on groups that suffer systemic disadvantage and under-representation.
In concrete terms, the questions institutional entities need to address through positive measures are:
- In boards, managerial levels, staff and outreach?
- In recruitment processes – affirmative action and reservations importantly
- In making event spaces and events inclusive, and accessible
-Special provisions that will be put in place with budgetary allocations
- DEI periodic review by a rotating committee
- Empowered Sexual Harassment Complaints Committees
- Anti-Discrimination Redressal Committee to combat discriminatory and intimidating behaviour based on social location
- Setting up of formal complaints mechanisms and redressal systems that are transparent and follow due process as clearly outlined in the mandate of such committees
- Circulation of Periodic Review reports to all participants and stakeholders eliminating arbitrariness in decisions and procedure.
I provide legal opinions to publishers on manuscripts submitted for consideration of publication, with a commitment to protect the autonomy of authors and the rigour required by publishers. Where authors have received Legal Opinions from publishers, I support and advise them in addressing these queries, and unravelling the maze of the law for authors without a background in law. This segment of my work draws on the fact that my books have been published by leading publishers in India and abroad: Sage, Routledge, Oxford University Press, Zubaan, Women Unlimited, Stree/Samya, Orient BlackSwan, Harper Collins India, Asia Law House – in diverse fields, and by major journals. I also come to this segment with two decades of experience as a manuscript reviewer for leading publishers, and 8 years on the editorial advisory group of Review of Women’s Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, and on the Editorial Committee of the Sage journal Social Change.