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In A Regressive Move, Centre Reduces Women In The Armed Forces To Their Domestic Obligations

Posted: February 6, 2020

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Women in the armed forces too can now expect to be kept away from command positions because they “won’t be accepted by male troops” and “it will interfere with their domestic obligations”!

In a sexist, highly regressive move, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that women officers are not suitable for command posts in the Army because the male officers are not willing to accept them.

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

Benevolent sexism

The stance, that reeks of benevolent sexism, is that male and female officers cannot be treated at par. It stated that women have “domestic obligations” to fulfill, and that a situation of grave physical, mental and psychological stress will be induced if a female officer is taken in as a prisoner of war. The challenges of “confinement, motherhood, and childcare” was mentioned.

This new announcement, once again, reduces women to their domestic avatars, where they are expected to put their family and home before themselves.

The move is highly sexist and regressive. The fact that men are not willing to take in women shows how sexism is rampant even in the Army. The role of the Centre is not to reinforce this sexism but to reduce or remove it.

Women have held commanding positions before

Women have handled home and their work efficiently. The urban woman of today juggles both her professional life and personal life like a boss. Citing this reason and not allowing women to join in is a move to curb the freedom which women have the constitutional right to. Progressive rule enforcements is the need.

Priya Jhingan was one of the first 25 women to have joined the Army as an officer in 1993. In the recent times, we have the example of the exemplary Mitali Madhumita. She is the first woman officer to receive a gallantry award, and the Sena Medal in 2011 for her brave efforts shown during the attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul in 2010, and the operations in Jammu and Kashmir, and the northeastern states. We also have Divya Ajith Kumar as an example who led the women troop of 154 women officers in the Republic Day Parade of 2015. She is also the first woman officer to be honoured with the Sword of Honour.

Indian Air Force had 13.09% and 8.5%, Indian Navy 6% and 2.8% women, and Indian Army 3.80% and 3% in December 2018 and December 2014 respectively. And these are just the command positions of combat. There are also other divisions of the armed forces, not just combat. Women have, for example, also held command positions and proven themselves in the medical division of the armed forces.

Bridging the gap is the need of the hour

When power packed women as those mentioned above and many more have laid down such great examples, it is surprising to see how the authorities do not see women as fit for holding command posts. In times when feminists are trying to bridge this gap, moves like these are designed to derail.

Feminism does not seek that women be treated as superior to men. It simply seeks that women be seen as equals, and to be treated at par. The need of the hour is to stop viewing women as liabilities, but as human beings who are equal.

Image source: YouTube

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A Journalism student. When not busy with college and assignments, I read a lot. Big

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