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SC’s alternate words for “affair”, “housewife”, “sex change” and others; list released

SC's alternate words for "affair", "housewife", "sex change"

The Supreme Court of India has introduced a handbook, “Combating Gender Stereotypes”, that aims to help judges and the legal community identify and prevent the use of gender stereotypical language in the judiciary system. SC alternate words

Key highlights: The handbook provides a list of gendered terms that have historically been used in the judiciary and suggests alternative, non-stereotypical terms.  SC alternate words

SC's alternate words for "affair", "housewife", "sex change"
  • For instance, instead of using terms like “adulteress” or “concubine,” the handbook recommends phrases like “woman who has engaged in sexual relations outside of marriage” or “woman with whom a man has had romantic or sexual relations outside of marriage.” 
  • The term “housewife” is discouraged, and terms like “career woman” or “Indian woman/western woman” are also highlighted for avoidance.
SC's alternate words for "affair", "housewife", "sex change"
  • The handbook also juxtaposes stereotypes against reality to underline the gap between them. For example, while the stereotype might suggest that “women are overly emotional and illogical. The reality emphasizes that a person’s gender doesn’t influence their capacity for rational thought. SC alternate words
  • The handbook debunks stereotypes related to sex and sexual violence. For instance, it challenges notions like the belief that a woman’s attire indicates her willingness for sexual relations. Also the women who consume alcohol are inviting unwanted advances
SC's alternate words for "affair", "housewife", "sex change"

What CJI is saying: Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, emphasized that the handbook’s purpose isn’t to criticize past judgments but to help judges recognize and avoid language that perpetuates stereotypes. SC alternate words

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