In the modern world, there are no domains of work that women haven’t delved into. Words such as chairman and cameraman have been rephrased as chairperson and camera person, to accommodate women. Many a male dominated work place has crumbled under the power of the woman – her spirit and energy. The Indian Armed Forces, which for long was considered a male dominated workplace, now has confident, bold women, molding into every role and setting examples for everyone.

This year’s Republic Parade was remarkable for the prominence it gave to our women warriors.For the first time in the history of India’s Republic Day, women empowerment in the armed forces was showcased as an all-women contingent from the three forces- Army, Air Force and Navy- marched down the majestic Rajpath.


In 1992, the doors were thrown open for women entry as regular officers in aviation, logistics, law, engineering and executive cadres. Thousands of spirited young women applied against advertisements and it was a turning point in the history of time. These women chose a new field where they had to painstakingly pave a path for the others to follow.

Ever since their induction in the three services, women officers have been fighting for equality in terms of promotions and permanent commission.Women were trained and inducted in 1992, but over two decades later, are still not being permanently commissioned into the army except in two branches: education and law. According to figures provided by the Army, 252 of the 647 women officers either quit or got their release from the service in the last five years. Often, male officers raise the issue of women quitting by saying: it’s a waste of time and money training them because they leave to get married and have children.Similar issue raised by Brinda Karat mp Rajya Sabha in 2012.

Government Initiatives

In July 2014, the present government took forward the decisions taken by the UPA government with respect to the grant of permanent commission to women officers. It was reported women joining the armed forces from “next year” will be considered for permanent commission and command.

While the first month of 2015 has already gone by (along with the Nari Shakti themed Republic Day parade), we are yet to see any official notification with respect to the changed policy. The recruitment ads also do not carry any such information. In addition to that, the new policy will be beneficial only to the new entrants.

The Indian Army has held several reviews, including recently, and has once again ruled out combat duties for its women officers. An army spokesman said that they were now in favour of offering permanent commission starting 2016, but that is only one of the issues plaguing women who want to be in uniform.

Clearly, the decision makers need to re-look at  it from a different perspective .

Team Aspirant Forum

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