Let more women join the forces

The NDA needs to accommodate more women cadets with immediate effect . The SC has ruled that the induction of women in the Army is in keeping with the spirit of equality. More women in the military will make it not just more inclusive, but also more effective
The armed forces should review this ceiling on numbers because it only reinforces a perception that there is a gender bias and that the forces have yet to fully accept women as equals in their ranks. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo) PREMIUM
The armed forces should review this ceiling on numbers because it only reinforces a perception that there is a gender bias and that the forces have yet to fully accept women as equals in their ranks. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 19, 2022 08:13 PM IST
Copy Link
ByHT Editorial

Last week, the Chief of Army Staff, General MM Naravane, said that it was no big deal having women in the armed forces, and that the National Defence Academy (NDA) was opening its gates to women in the spirit of equality and fair play. In which case, it is a bit worrying that the Supreme Court has had to once again intervene in the matter of inducting more women in the armed forces by asking why the Union government has limited the number of women cadets in the upcoming session of the NDA to 19, and adding that this could not be a number for all time to come. The additional solicitor-general mentioned the requirements of the armed forces as a factor, but this doesn’t explain why the number should be cast in stone, as it would appear at present. The SC ruled last year in favour of women sitting for examination to the NDA, a powerful intervention following its ruling ordering the Centre to grant permanent commission to women in the Navy and Army.

The armed forces should review this ceiling on numbers because it only reinforces a perception that there is a gender bias and that the forces have yet to fully accept women as equals in their ranks. The apex court, this time as well as before, has been critical of the discrimination shown towards women in the armed forces and also asked that the judiciary not be made to intervene in matters related to the armed forces. The armed forces have for long kept women out on various grounds — low acceptance of leadership roles, physical constraints, and lack of infrastructure, among others. These are reflections of institutional biases, which the SC said should be corrected and which the leadership of the armed forces promised to take into consideration.

Women, since their induction into the forces as officers in 1992, have not sought special treatment. The nature of warfare is different today. To be sure, both men and women in the armed forces need more technical expertise and skills than ever before. But there’s nothing that shows that one gender outperforms another when it comes to these. The NDA needs to accommodate more women cadets with immediate effect. The SC has ruled that the induction of women in the Army is in keeping with the spirit of equality. More women in the military will make it not just more inclusive, but also more effective. Nothing should stand in the way of this.

Enjoy unlimited digital access with HT Premium

Subscribe Now to continue reading
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, May 20, 2022