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Army can do without women

AT A time when the Army is suffering from a serious shortage of officers and recruitment of women is at an all-time high, Army vice-chief Lt Gen S. Pattabhiraman has said that the force could well do without its women officers.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 01:16 IST

AT A time when the Army is suffering from a serious shortage of officers and recruitment of women is at an all-time high, Army vice-chief Lt Gen S. Pattabhiraman has said that the force could well do without its women officers.

“Ideally, we would like to have gentlemen and not lady officers at the unit level,” Pattabhiraman told Hindustan Times. “Feedback from lower formations suggests that comfort levels with lady officers are low. We can do without them.” The Army began inducting women in 1993-94 and has about 1,000 women officers serving in non-combat roles.

The Army has received bad publicity after a series of incidents in which women officers leveled serious allegations — ranging from molestation to harassment—against their superiors. The suicide by a woman officer at Udhampur on Thursday—attributed to stress—has added to this. Of course, because of the shortage of officers, the Army is not planning to reduce the intake of women.

“The right kind of male candidates are not stepping forward. We have to turn to suitably qualified women. The challenge is how best to utilise their services without compromising the army’s character and ethos,” said Pattabhiraman. The vice-chief also said that the tendency among women officers to plan marriage soon after getting commissioned was causing problems.

The Army, is however, making an attempt to address the well-being of women. Pattabhiraman, who is responsible for military training, said instructions had been issued to the Officers Training Academy, Chennai, to devise a new capsule for women officers to condition them to the army environment. There’s also a move to assign women to artillery and armoured corps in non-combat roles, but that proposal has met with stiff opposition.

First Published: Jun 17, 2006 01:16 IST