By Isha Chauhan from Amity University, Noida
With the amendment in the Section 20 of the Indian Arms, 1950 a new change of parity over the age patriarchy was seen. The Supreme Court attempted to change the mindset of the society and most significantly the army personnel, having a mindset of the stereotypic gender goals.
The amendment incorporates the women in Indian Army to be elevated to higher positions, including the command position, based on their skills and abilities and not just on the stereotypic societal mindset.
It was observed in past years that women faced discrimination on the grounds of being pampered and protected, which their male counterparts in the Indian Army enacted as a novelty being taught. The very practice of army leadership being gender biased not only makes one of the counter-part more prone to inequality but also leads to an extra burden on the male officers. The basic problem that occurs in the system is making only the boys turn in to men in an army leadership, leaving the second group behind.
The very reason behind the gender bias lies the thinking that probably women won’t be able to handle both the organizational interests as well as the stereotypical family goals. But should she be asked for the same before making a pre-mindset of her, that she won’t be able to work as per the requirements. The amendment has some-what challenged the thoughts that prevailed.
Physical difference between men and women is the other reason of why women have been facing discrimination from long back past. No doubt, women are given opportunities similar to men, may that be sports, athletics and what not. But have you ever seen both the genders competing together? I guess no. That is the where physical difference and the linking gender biasness comes along.
Women were allowed to enter Indian Army since 1992. The story of discrimination began from the beginning where women were hired only for five years with no life extension, making them ill-eligible for pension in the later stages. Whereas their male counterparts got a hiring for at least 10 years ranging to a permanent commission. The petition filed in the year 2003 proved to a step closer in the long race of inequality which was granted later in the year 2010.
A step closer towards the win in the race was in February 2019, where a decision was made to allow women to get a permanent commission in eight army streams, though only in administrative posts. The step was a landmark in the road to be taken. It was finally that women are given a chance of being in a permanent commission.
The army cited that women because of minimal facilities available are not deployed on the battle fields. Having on 30% of women being deployed in combat areas is the next step to be looked upon while considering parity.
THE FIGHT TO CHANGE MENTALITY
Army men mostly recruited from a rural background still have a patriarchy in their feudal culture system. But, with the changing trends this thinking is not more than a hoax. The transformation in the environment allows women to enter the “so-called- male-dominated-areas” may that be police officials, commercial worker drivers, late night shifts and lots more.
With the increase in the literacy rate, it is women who are now the trendsetters for the society. The one who are bringing the change themselves, they want to see in the world. The change in the year 2010, provided women a fair path for a carrier prospect as that of men in the Indian Army.
There have been many changes in the rights of women since the time they’ve entered Indian army. Ranging from the their allowance to work as fighter pilots in IAF, intelligence officers ,logistics department of army and navy , army aviation and being an electronic and mechanical engineer along with the male counterparts in the army.
BRIDGING THE UNBRIDGED GAP
Social taboos have always been a hindrance in development of a nation. The glass ceiling of the gap although has started to break but a long path is yet to be travelled. On side we talk about the female warriors who are considered as an example of courage. But on the very other women are still fighting to break the ice in the Indian army.
The recruitment of women officer as personnel below officer rank into military police is the next big achievement in the path breaking the age-old thought. Women being allowed for being a fighter pilot. Enables them to serve the duty they’ve chosen without any societal intervention.
Women have reached a long way in the Indian Army breaking stages of inequality. The role of women has transformed over the years. The thinking has changed leading to a rise in their position in the hierarchy and not being mere servants to the opposite gender. The decision of the Supreme Court to allow women holding a higher position has not only strengthened their stand but also is the weapon that would bring the change.
In my opinion women have crossed all the hurdles faced so far in the pathway of their as well nations development. It is we who are there who can bring the change. Though the path has started to be seen as highway for nations growth but still there has to be a lot more to be crossed so as to make the dream seen so far of being an equal for all nation come true.
1. Das S. Equal roles for women in Indian army is not a feminist victory [Internet]. Aljazeera.com. 2020 [cited 17 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/equal-roles-women-indian-army-feminist-victory-200303152707759.html
2. As SC orders permanent commission to women in Indian Army, a look at armies around the world [Internet]. The Economic Times. 2020 [cited 17 July 2020]. Available from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/as-sc-orders-permanent-commission-to-women-in-indian-army-a-look-at-armies-around-the-world/articleshow/74225811.cms
3. Role of women officers in Indian armed forces | HT Explainer [Internet]. Hindustan Times. 2020 [cited 17 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/women-officers-in-combat-and-command-roles-ht-explainer/story-3xloWIhE5E98WikO5vij4H.html