Context: Empowering Indian women in Indian defence forces.
More in news:
- International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe on March 8 every year to recognise the achievements of women, across divides, national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.
- The theme of International Women’s Day 2020 was, “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”.
Status of Women in Indian Armed Forces:
- Women Officers are inducted in Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Army Education Corps, Judge Advocate General Branch, Corps of Engineers, Corps of Signals, Intelligence Corps, Corps of Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Army Aviation Corps and Corps of Army Air Defence. Women are also included in Indian Army in Military Nursing Service and Medical Officers cadre.
- The details of the percentage of women working for armed forces are as under:
|Name of the Service||Percentage (%)|
- The MHA had issued an advisory to all state governments to reserve 33 per cent posts in their respective police forces.
- Government has also thrown open the doors of Sainik Schools for girls. Admission of girl students started in Sainik School, Chhingchhip (Mizoram) in academic year 2018-19 as a pilot project. The admission process for another five Sainik Schools — Kalikiri (Andhra Pradesh), Kodagu and Bijapur (Karnataka), Ghorakhal (Uttarakhand), Chandrapur (Maharashtra) — has already started. All the Sainik schools will extend admission to girl students from the academic session 2021-22 onwards.
- There has been a substantial increase in enrolment and representation of girl cadets in NCC to 33.72 per cent in 2019 from 25.4 per cent in 2014.
- An additional 33,000 girl cadets are to be enrolled in the senior wing under self-financing schemes from 2020.
- Nearly 650 additional posts for Girl Cadet Instructors (GCl) have been sanctioned for recruitment over the next five years against the present strength of 255 GCls.
- The DRDO has been according equal opportunities for enhancement of women’s skills and fulfilment of their potential. Some of the leading missile scientists today are women.
Various measures taken by government:
Various measures have been taken by the Government to attract the women to join the armed forces. These are listed below:
- The Government has promulgated policy on February 25, 2019 to extend the grant of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in the eight arms/services in Indian Army viz. Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Intelligence in addition to the existing two streams of Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps (AEC).
- Steps like increasing tenure of women officers and improving promotional prospects in Army have been taken to increase participation of women in the Army.
- The proposal for induction of women in the corps of military police in the Indian Army as soldiers was approved last year to recruit a total of 1,700 women military personnel.
- Steps like increasing the tenure of women officers in SSC from 10 to 14 years and improving their promotional prospects in the Army have been taken.
- In February 2020, the apex court finally decided things by declaring that all women would be granted permanent commission in all 10 non-combat wings.
- Many countries are changing their attitude not just to promote equality. For example, In Britain, in March 2019, a female soldier passed a 16-week course that qualified her to command a section of eight infantry soldiers, and was transferred to a regular infantry battalion. She passed both the physical and tactical tests to the same standards as her male counterparts.
- US women have earned the right to participate in combat jobs through sheer experience. In March 2005, Sgt Leigh Ann Hester earned a Silver Star for her role in a gunfight where US soldiers fought off Iraqi insurgents. In 2003-15, more than 1,000 women were injured in action and 161 were killed, and having seen how thousands of women functioned in the ‘non-linear’ battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has opened up all military jobs to women, if they pass the training.
- Last January, Jasmin Paris, a 35-year-old mother, won the brutal, 268-mile Montane Spine Race in England’s hilly areas during winter, considered one of the toughest races in the world. Jasmin beat the course record by more than 12 hours. The next person, a man, finished 15 hours later.
- The jury is still out, but the performance of women in these endurance races suggests that, perhaps, in extreme conditions, women have something else going for them. It is not physical strength. It could well be psychological.
Women’s empowerment is a comprehensive programme that deals with five components of security: Health security of mother and child, social security, financial security, security of the future through educational and financial programmes in growing-up years and the physical safety of women. “Stree Shakti” is an integral part of India’s “Rashtra Shakti” and without strengthening India’s “Shakti”, India cannot aspire to be “Shaktishali Bharat”.