|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Write some hurdles in the effective implementation of the grant of the Permanent Commission to women in the armed forces.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.
Recently, the Supreme Court directed the Centre and the IAF to consider granting permanent commission to 32 retired women Short Service Commission (SSC) officers based on their suitability with the purpose of giving them pensionary benefits.
There are following hurdles in the effective implementation of the grant of the Permanent Commission to women in the armed forces:
- The government had resisted granting permanent commission to women officers, citing bizarre reasons like poor hygiene in forward areas, leading a life of isolation and troops from rural backgrounds not accepting women officers as commanders.
- The arguments are presented on the basis that a role in combat would require tough training, whereas the current training for women is different and at a much lower level than that of their male counterparts.
- The composition of rank and file being male, predominantly drawn from rural background with prevailing societal norms, the troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command.
- Domestic obligations towards their children and families, prolonged absence during pregnancy and motherhood have a major bearing on the employment of women officers in the army.
- Male and female officers cannot be treated equally because of their ‘different physical standards’.
- The government has argued that if a woman is taken captive by insurgents/terrorists or as a Prisoner of War (PoW) by an enemy state, then it would become an international and deeply emotive issue which could have an impact on the society.
In countries like United States and Israel, women are allowed in active combat. India’s Air Force and Navy give women both permanent commissions and select combat roles. To usher in a change in a regressive mindset prevalent in the society, a lot more must be done on gender sensitisation.