A Punjabi woman’s journey through the legal system: 1972 – 2008

Published 14th March 2016

In 1972 I joined the Race Equality Council and as part of my role I had to accompany defendants to the local magistrate court. I learnt that the interpretive skills were often sub-standard, meaning defendants were not receiving fair legal treatment.

Soon after sharing my findings with my department, I was encouraged to join the bench as a Justice of the Peace. It was strikingly evident that there were no ethnic minority women representing the community within this field. The majority of my colleagues were men and my placement was largely received with negativity. I was frequently side-lined and uncomfortable as a result of behaviour towards me.

With courage and determination to succeed in my own right, I overcame daily obstacles and prejudice. I served within the legal system for over 33 years. Relationships and behaviour towards both me and my female colleagues over the years, did markedly improve – making our roles more free and fulfilling.

Today, I feel encouraged by the equal treatment and prospects of all – across race, disability, gender and age.

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