Friday, September 21, 2012

Women in the Indian military

An article about women in the military that I found on “The Daily Mail” website:

WHIPLASH: Why ignore our Jhansi ki Ranis?

PUBLISHED: 21:08 GMT, 20 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:08 GMT, 20 September 2012

Clearly, women are second class citizens. Why else would the Army’s statement that women cannot be granted permanent commission in the force be forgotten in a blink?

The reason: the Army’s Junior Commissioned Officers from rural India are not yet ready to accept a woman as their combat leader. How is that for equality? It’s the same state in the Navy and Air Force.

To add insult to this, defence minister AK Antony says with pride that there are 2,595 women officers in the three branches, forgetting to mention the total strength — 11,29,900.

Apparently the experience with Short Service Commission women officers has not been encouraging. When women and child development minister Krishna Tirath stressed the need for “empowerment of women”, she forgot about our defence forces.

How long will the combined forces of the government and defence take to wake up to change?

Forever, I should think. Instead of becoming an equal opportunity employer, they intend to play the benches. Therein lies the problem.

Armies of Israel, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Australia permit women in combat roles. Women have flown combat missions as fighter pilots for Britain, Pakistan and the US.

Scandinavian countries that allow women in combat positions also have difficult climactic conditions and terrains.

Canadian women serve as soldiers in Afghanistan. According to a research by Live Science, women are capable of performing admirably on the front lines, just like men can be. But no one is asking or even checking. Maybe it’s time to do some research.

Rani Lakshmibai, the queen of Jhansi, and Captain Lakshmi Sahgal are not figments of our collective imagination. They did exist and they did well.

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