Google has dedicated a doodle on its homepage to Cornelia Sorabji, on the occasion of what would have been her 151st birthday. Born in 1866, Sorabji has been credited to several notable firsts. She was the first female graduate from Bombay University, she was the first to read law at Oxford University where she studied in 1892, the first female advocate in India, and the first woman to practise law in India and Britain.
However, her journey through these achievements wasn’t as smooth as it sounds now. We are talking about the equation between society at large and women two centuries ago. Though Sorabji completes her graduation from Oxford, women were not awarded degrees by the university in those days, making her unable to practice law in England. This rule against women only changed 30 years later in 1922.
Sorabji then returned to India in 1894, where she was again barred from practicing her profession. However, she strived through these obstacles too. “She eventually became legal advisor to the government for the purdahnashins — veiled women forbidden by social custom from communicating with males from the outside world. When widowed, these women were often entitled to their husbands’ estates, but their isolation prevented them from seeking legal help to enforce their rights (all lawyers being male). Sorabji tirelessly fought for the rights of the purdahnashins and even earned them the right to be trained in nursing, which gave them the opportunity to work outside their homes”, Google explains in its blog. ALSO READ: Anasuya Sarabhai’s 132nd birthday celebrated with a Google Doodle
The Google Doodle has been sketeched by illustrator Jasjyot Singh Hans depicts Sorabji in front of the Allahabad High Court, to which she was eventually admitted. ALSO READ: Facebook introduces Google Doodle-like News Feed messages