Working women impose their own ‘glass ceilings’, according to the Old Bailey’s first non-white circuit judge, who said she had succeeded despite not being an Oxbridge-educated man.
Anuja Ravindra Dhir QC is the youngest circuit judge currently sitting at the Central Criminal Courts in London.
“I’m often asked if there is a glass ceiling. I think sometimes there are two ceilings, or no glass ceiling at all,” she said.
“There is one glass ceiling that’s in our mind, that’s what we think we can achieve. So perhaps we imposed our glass ceiling, and that has happened to me several times.”
Dhir, 49, said she was “surprised” not to encounter discrimination at the bar. “I was not expecting to be treated like a white Oxbridge male at all,” she said.
However, she has faced prejudice elsewhere, including security staff frequently mistaking her for a defendant. “I remember going to a crown court out of London and the man at the gate didn’t believe I was a barrister. In the end I had to show him my wig and gown before they would actually let me into the building.”
Dhir also confounded teachers at her school in Dundee, where she struggled with dyslexia. She recalled: “When I first said to a teacher at school I wanted to go to university when I was older, she told me that I should aim a little lower and suggested I try hairdressing instead.”