Unlike developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada, India has been slower to let women into other avenues than the usual nursing or medical roles.
The number of women in the Indian Armed Forces has nearly tripled in recent years. They are no longer just in the medical field; they are now joining the forces not only as a soldier, but also as a fighter pilot and command post in the army.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk regarding the entry of women into the Indian Armed Forces. Unlike developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada, India has been slower to let women into other avenues than the usual nursing or medical roles.
Based on information in the public domain, the United States has played a major role in inducting women into the armed forces. Today, it has more than 200,000 active duty women, representing nearly 20 percent of the US Army’s workforce.
Israel also has women in its forces but not in combat roles but in technical and administrative positions.
In the male-dominated field, these young Indian women have managed to break the glass ceiling by pushing forward and to date nearly 9,118 women are in active duty and serving in the Indian Army, the air force and navy. The government has given its approval for the induction of 1,700 women as jawans into the military police corps.
The first time women joined the Indian Armed Forces was in 1888 when the Indian Army Nursing Service was established. And all the Indian army nurses at that time played a very important role in the First World War. Impressed by their performance, the senior army officers decided to expand and strengthen the women’s wing and formed the Women’s Auxiliary Corps. This Corps was to support women to serve in non-combatant roles such as accounting, communications, and administration.
Azad Hind Fauj of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, had an exclusive female combat regiment; Rani of the Jhansi Regiment had wives who fought on the front lines against the Imperial Japanese Army in former Burma.
Women in the Indian Armed Forces
According to a lady officer in the Indian army, “The army gives us the opportunity to help us meet the demands of our professional and personal lives. As an officer, it gives us immense pride in serving our nation.
The army support system helps make a woman stronger and makes her a warrior for life.
The first Indian Air Force (IAF) female fighter pilots began flying MiG-21 Bisons in 2016. According to IAF female fighter pilots, there is no gender bias; the difficulties encountered are the same for the brand’s drivers.
As reported earlier, the Supreme Court of India in a landmark judgment ordered the Center to grant permanent commission to women officers in the three services where women are eligible for commission.
In July 2020, as per government order, the grant of a permanent commission to female officers will be granted in 10 streams that made national headlines – Army Air Defense (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation , Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and Intelligence Corps in addition to the mainstreams of Judge and Advocate General (JAG) and Army Educational Corps (AEC).
In March 2020, the nation’s highest court issued a landmark judgment on women in the combat arms.
There has been a significant increase in the number of women who have been deployed to the forces since 2020, apart from female officers in the Army Education Corps, they can now also be considered for command positions in the Indian army.
In February 2021, details provided by the Rajya Sabha government stated that the Indian Navy had the highest number of women in its workforce among the three services at 6.5%. And the percentage of women in the Indian Army and Air Force is 0.56 and 1.08 respectively.
According to details provided by the then Minister of State for Defense Shripad Naik in a written response, there are 6,807 women who are in the army and the number of men serving is 12 18 036.
In the case of the Indian Navy, the percentage of female officers is 6.5% with 704 women serving compared to the 10,108 men in the force. And women have been inducted at the officer level at present. Women have been in the service since 1992 and they were part of the three streams present at that time which included logistics, education and law. Today, there are more options for women in the navy – as maritime reconnaissance aircraft spotters, pilots, and avenues in inspecting naval armaments.