Why in News:
- Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force commissioned its first two women officers in combat after they completed their training.
History of induction
- Short-service commission (SSC) officers were first inducted into the Army, Air Force, and Navy in 1992. Women were allowed to join the military for the first time outside of the medical field.
- In 2015, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chose to induct women into the fighter stream, which marked a watershed moment for women in the military.
- In 2020, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the central government to give women officers in the Army’s non-combat support corps, permanent commissions (PC) on par with their male colleagues.
- In addition to providing women a position in combat weaponry, the ruling fundamentally underscores the denial of equal opportunities for promotion to higher commands in their current roles. Women officers will be eligible for ‘command positions’ in their respective units, in addition to permanent commissions in ten arms and services of the Indian Army, as applicable to their male counterparts, with immediate effect.
- The Supreme Court dismissed the government’s claim that women officers’ physiological restrictions are due to “sex stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.
- The Army inducted the first batch of women into the Corps of Military Police in 2021, marking the first time that women were inducted into the non-officer cadre of the military.
- Women are still not permitted to serve in combat arms( in the front lines) such as the Infantry and Armored Corps.
Why the Government was initially against inducting women in the military
- Family Issues: According to the Centre, the armed forces require sacrifices and devotion beyond the call of duty by the entire family of serving personnel, which includes separation and frequent moves, hurting children’s schooling and the spouse’s professional possibilities.
- Physiological Challenges: The Centre has notified the Supreme Court that maternity, child care, and psychological limits are important considerations in the Army’s hiring of female commanders. Due to protracted absence during pregnancy, motherhood, and domestic commitments towards their children and families, it is difficult for women to satisfy these dangers of duty, especially when both husband and wife are service officers.
- Societal Issues: The majority of male officers come from rural backgrounds, and due to societal standards, patriarchal mindset , troops are not yet mentally prepared to accept female officers in command positions. Society has a negative opinion of a female officer who has been kidnapped by an enemy country and held as a prisoner of war.
Why is induction of women into the military needed?
- Women Empowerment
- Stronger Armed Force
- Equality of Opportunity
Significance of this induction:
- Gender is not a Disqualifier: An applicant’s gender is irrelevant as long as they are competent for the post. Technical expertise and decision-making skills are becoming increasingly valuable in today’s high-tech battlefields over raw might.
- Tradition: In order to assist the integration of women into combat groups, training will be required. Men’s patriarchal mindset can change through awareness.
- Effectiveness: The blanket ban on women inhibits commanders’ ability to choose the best individual for the position in the theatre.
- Military Readiness: Allowing a mixed gender force to serve in the military keeps the military strong. Falling retention and recruitment rates are causing major problems for the military. Allowing women to fight is one way to remedy this.
- Global Scenario: In 2013, women were eligible for combat posts in the US military, which was largely applauded as another step toward gender equality. Women can now serve in elite special forces after the UK military abolished a restriction on them engaging in close combat ground duties in 2018.
- Historical Scenario: The Rani Jhansi Regiment was the Women’s Regiment of the Indian National Army that existed even before India got its independence.