Women power in Indian Military

(GS PAPER-2, Issues related to women,

Source- The Hindu)

Context-

  • Recently two women officers have been selected to go up with helicopter pilot training for the very first time in the Army Aviation Corps. Both of them will join front-line flying duties after completion of their training in July 2022. Till now, in India women officers were assigned only ground duties in the Army Aviation Corps.

Key Highlights-

1. Deployment in the Armed Forces-

  • The Army, Air Force, and Navy started the selection of women as short-service commission (SSC) officers in 1992.
  • In history, it was the first time when women were allowed to join the military outside the medical stream.
  • D-Day came for women in the military in 2015 when the Indian Air Force (IAF) decided to appoint them into the fighter stream.
  • Last year the Apex court ordered the union government to grant permanent commission (PC) to female officers in the Army’s non-combat support units on par with their male counterparts.
  • The Apex court had rejected the government’s stand of women officers’ physiological limitations as being based on “sex stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.
  • Women officers have been granted Permanent Commission in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where women are selected for SSC.
  • Women are now qualified to occupy all the command appointments, at par with male officers, which would open avenues for further promotions to higher ranks for them.
  • At the beginning of this year, the Indian Navy deployed four women officers on warships after a gap of almost 25 years.
  • At present India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and fleet tanker INS Shakti are the warships that have been assigned their first women crews since the late 1990s.
  • At the beginning of this year, the Army inducted the first batch of women into the Corps of Military Police, the first time that women joined the military in the non-officer cadre.
  • However, It is to be noted that Women are still not allowed in combat arms like Infantry and Armored Corps.

2. Increment in Numbers-

  • It has seen a growth i.e almost three-fold over the last six years in the numbers of women, with more avenues being opened to them at a steady pace.
  • There are 9,118 women currently serving the army, navy, and air force in total. According to 2019 figures, women comprise just 3.8% of the world’s army situations.

Significance-

  • Gender is not an obstacle: As long as an applicant is qualified for a position, one’s gender should not be a ground for discrimination. In the era of the high technology battlefield,  technical expertise and decision-making skills are becoming more valuable than simple brute strength.
  •  Military Readiness: Allowing a mixed-gender force can keep the military strong. The armed forces are often troubled by falling retention and recruitment rates. This can be solved by allowing women in the combat role.
  • Effectiveness: The umbrella restriction for women candidates limits the capability of commanders in theater to pick the most capable person for the job.
  • Tradition: Training will be required to facilitate the integration of women into combat forces. At present  Cultures have changed and the masculine subculture can evolve too.
  • Global Scenario:  When women officially became eligible for combat positions in the American military in the year 2013, it was widely hailed as another step towards women’s empowerment. In 2018, the UK military lifted a ban on women serving in close combat ground roles and cleared the way for them to serve in elite special forces.

Way Forward-

  • To keep Women out of command posts on the logic that the largely rank and file will have problems with women as commanding officers. Therefore, changes have to take place in the culture, norms, and values of not only the rank and file of the Army but also that of society and nation at large.
  • The responsibility to usher these changes lies with the senior military, political leadership, executive, and society. 

– Khyati Khare

Download Daily Current Affairs of 11th June 2021

Khyati Khare

Plutus IAS Current Affairs Team

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