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The Centre Implies That Women In Commanding Positions In The Indian Army Might Bruise The Fragile Male Egos. Too Bad, Ask Them To Deal, We Say

February 05, 2020 | by Mitali Shah

You know how we keep saying, women can do everything a man can? We are willing to prove it and in many ways, we have. Women are out there, leading change and doing things that were once only deemed fit for men. It has taken years for us to get here and if you think about it, India is still far behind in comparison to the rest of the world. At some point, it is understandable we can’t expect a country (that hates change) to progress overnight. But what we can expect is movement in the right direction and right now it just seems like we are going backward.

There are multiple reasons I feel like we aren’t going the right way. But the reason I am talking about today affects us all on a much larger scale.

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that women may not be suitable for a commanding post in the Army since the male troops are not prepared to accept women in leading positions. They also said that women should not be given command postings since they have greater domestic responsibilities and family demands. This came as an opposition to a plea a few women officers filed for a command position after getting permanent commission.

Also Read: Sexist Rule Restricting The Movement Of Women Officers In The Army Is Finally Done Away With

The Centre said, “The composition of rank & file being male, and predominantly from a rural background, with prevailing societal norms, the troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command.”

This is actually an obstacle in the growth of women in a lot of areas. Men who hail from villages and small towns are still used to women being docile and under the thumb of the men. So, it stands to reason that they will not know how to react if suddenly they see a woman in a commanding position. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this decision is alright and it does not reek of misogyny. But why the hell are we protecting these men and their mentalities. Put a women officer in charge and get him to obey commands. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work anyway?

It does not end here, the Centre also said that serving in the armed forces require a lot of sacrifice from not just the person serving but their entire family. And since women have greater familial demands it is not viable to have a woman commanding. They said, “It is a greater challenge for women officers to meet these hazards of service owing to prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families, especially when both husband and wife happen to be service officers.”

Seriously? This is exactly how the current government views women in general. Even today women are expected to prioritize their domestic responsibilities over everything else and that is shameful. And to think that women are not being deemed fit to lead because they must take care of domestic duties is an insult to a woman’s strength and intelligence. If they wanted to keep women from leading, the least they could’ve done was come up with better excuses.


Also Read: Indian Navy Gets Its First Woman Pilot Ever And Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Sub Lt. Shivangi Singh

But we are supposed to be happy with the fact that the Centre has agreed to grant permanent commission to women officers who have served 14 years in the Army but not above that. Women who have served above 14 years can serve up to 20 years without permanent commission. Those who are past 20-years would have to retire with pensionary benefits.

Those women officers are giving 20 years of their life to the service but arent allowed to lead just because the men get insecure when a woman is in charge. Does this sound fair to anyone? It sure as hell sounds like they are completely hampering the growth of women officers to me.

The conversation then moves to discussing how stressful it would be for the Government and the Army if a woman leader is taken as a prisoner of war during an attack and hence, they believe that women should be kept away from direct combat altogether.

So, tell me something, is the government and the Army not stressed out when a man is taken as a POW? What does this even mean? Also, a bunch of men “protecting” a woman by keeping her on the sidelines is literally the mindset we have been trying to fight.

After all this, the court said, “A change of mindset is required with changing times. You need to give them the opportunity and they will serve to the best of their capabilities.”

So, does this mean woman officers can hold a commanding post or not? Who knows? But at least the court recognises that women too can lead – all they need is a chance. There needs to be more sensitization and inclusivity for women in the Armed forces and the onus of this cannot fall on the woman! Ugh.


Mitali Shah

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