Hails from the Kottayam district of Kerala, Mary Roy is a well known women’s rights activist in Kerala. She is well noted for winning a lawsuit against the inheritance of family property of Syrian Christian community in Kerala. She won the suit in 1986 in the Supreme Court. The verdict was a result of the Public Interest Litigation that she filed in the Supreme Court in 1984. In that, Mary Roy demanded for equal rights for both female and male children over the family property of their parents. It was a landmark victory in the history of Kerala against the primitive Travancore Christian Succession Act.
Also an educator by profile, Mary Roy is the founder and former principal of Pallikoodam School (also known as Corpus Christi School) in Kottayam which offers an unconventional education to children up to plus two classes. Pallikoodam encourages self learning through experimentation. The school was established in 1967 and designed by the renowned architect Laurie Baker. Through Pallikoodam, she intends to create a gender equal space and mould a generation of students who could perceive equality in its true sense. In her opinion, education is the ultimate way of liberation for women. Also she adopts a teaching method that not only talks about the importance of gender equality, but also teaches the male students in her school to treat women equally. She still actively engages in the fights against social and environmental issues.