First Woman Lawyer – “Cornelia Sorabji”



When women in Britain were campaigning for right to vote and in India when women were struggling for their existence in society,  Cornelia Sorabji became the first woman to practice law in India

Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to graduate in law from India as early as 1892 and the first Indian national to attend the British university where she started her career as the pleader in Allahabad High Court.

Cornelia was born in Nashik in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency of colonial India on this day in 1866. Her parents Reverend Sorabji Karsedji and Francina Ford were advocates of women’s education and established several girls’ schools in Pune. They encouraged Cornelia to take higher studies, and she went on to become the first woman to be graduated from Bombay University.

After she received the first-class degree from Bombay University in 1888, British supporters helped to send her to Oxford University. Here, Sorabji became the first woman to sit the Civil Law exams but was not able to graduate as women could not be awarded degrees until 1920. She returned to India in 1894. After a long struggle with the authorities, she became the legal advocate for women in purdah, whose religious and cultural beliefs prevented them from speaking to men outside their family. Cornelia took up law at the famous Oxford University and it was no easy task at the time when a woman in society marks no existence and treated only as a caretaker.

On this day Google doodle also paid tribute to the first women lawyer who in history marked herself  “a golden girl”, an inspiration to every girl, to every woman.

Cornelia was not only the first women lawyer but her efforts are the answers to all those questions which lead to the decline of a women’ progress, to those people who dare to measure a woman over their own scales.


By – Shivika Sahu


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