“The composition of rank and file being male, and predominantly drawn from a rural background, with prevailing societal norms, the troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command,” the affidavit cited.
This statement was made by the Central government as a rejoinder to a plea by some women officers against the refusal of the Permanent Commission (PC) to women officials in the armed forces. This case was being heard by the Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi.
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. However, the court stated that if the government were to change its mindset then women officers could be “given command posts in the Army as there are many other services in addition to combat operations where women could be accommodated.“
Also, the government stated that “motherhood, child care, psychological limitations” are also reasons enough to limit women’s participation.
So, shouldn’t male chauvinism, male ego, or gender bias in participation also be depreciated?
Isn’t this a sexist and highly regressive move? The job of the government should be to create equality for all genders, but this statement clearly shows the true face of their inherent sexism.
Women are excellent at multi-tasking. They can be wives, a loving mother, a proper home-maker. They are never asked to choose between being a mother or a wife, never asked to either cook food or clean house. They are supposed to handle everything efficiently.
So, why does this question arise? Why was it said that women have “domestic obligations” to fulfill? It was explained that women have “lower physical standards” than men. Moreover, women would be absent for a long period due to pregnancy, child care, education, husband’s transfers and career, and other such demands.
Today’s woman juggles both her professional life and personal life. I strongly feel that a woman can claim her role in her professional world and also keeps her household in check. Similarly, women in the lower economic strata, who work as labourers, maids, also have to work in their own houses. It has never been an issue for them. They love their economic independence as well as their household and can balance both the fields.
It is was stated that in a situation of grave physical, mental, and psychological stress will be induced if a female officer is taken in as a prisoner of war. Citing this reason, and not allowing women to join in, is a move to curb the freedom which women have the constitutional right to. As per my conscience, similar stress will be induced even if a male officer is taken in as a prisoner of war.
It should be kept in mind that just as not all men join defence, similarly, not all women opt for the defence force. I feel that only those with utter confidence and courage do it, irrespective of their sex.
An obnoxious reason, cited by our former army chief General Bipin Rawat, said that “the army was not yet ready for women in combat roles.” He also felt that women officers would be embarrassed and face discomfiture at the front, and charge the soldiers of “peeping” when changing clothes! Tell me, isn’t it hilarious?
If the male troops have a problem, then women should be barred, and if women are having problems then also women are barred! Shouldn’t they pass a statement saying that men should be ‘educated’ properly so as to accept women taking charge?
Indian women have had commanding positions, so why question their existence now? There have been many women who have fought well, both with their brains and their brawn. They were awarded and felicitated for it. They have achieved it, fighting all odds. Now, when the need of the hour is to give them enough space to grow, they are trying to prune them into a bonsai!
The odds are finally somewhat in the favour of the so-called ‘weaker sex’, so shouldn’t the government do something to eliminate this ‘weak’ tag and give them equal provisions to let their true self shine?
The whole world is talking about feminism, and this is our brilliant stance. Feminism does not seek that women be treated as superior or in any other exceptional way. It simply seeks that women be seen as equal to men.
But here, Indian women can be worshipped, but not given equality. When will everyone stop viewing women as liabilities, but as human beings who are equal? The navy and air force have discarded gender differences and have appointed female fighter pilots! Why cannot the army change their mindset? They should also do the same and go ahead with recruiting women commanders.
The army must change its recruitment rules for women. Women have shown intense courage when circumstances have demanded. They will surely render excellent service for our army also.