The formation of the Indian Army took place in 1776 by the Government of East India Company. It is one of the biggest voluntary armies in the world that means our country has the greatest number of soldiers who are willing to work in this field which is a matter of great pride. The participation of both men and women in the Indian Army is a recommendable one. Currently, there is hardly any field where there is no involvement of women. This article will deal with how women contribute in Indian Army equal to men.
Women in Indian armed forces
There was in fact a phase where there were no women serving in the armed forces. This may be due to several reasons- lack of education, customs and practices which are now prohibited by law such as sati, child marriage female feticide etc. Since the time when women have been provided with equal rights as to men where they possess and gain similar status as to other men, the position of women in the society has changed tremendously. At, present we can find women in almost every field- political, social or economic. Earlier, there were many less opportunities for women in the army sector but those days are gone where only men were linked to this particular field. The Indian Armed Forces consists of four professional uniformed services- The Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard.
In 1992, a landmark event took place where women were welcomed in the Indian Army. Originally, women were barred for employment in the regular army except in such corps, departments or branches which the central government specified by way of notifications under the Army Act of 1950. This particular provision was considered invalid after 42 years of the Act, by way of a notification by the Government in 1992. Women can now work in Indian Navy, Indian Military, Indian Air Force. However, there are criteria and conditions which need to be fulfilled before appearing for the army examinations in order to ensure that both the gender is equal and the intention is not to put the females above the men.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that there should be a permanent commission and Short Service Commissioned (SSC) women officers in the Indian Army are entitled to that Commission. Also, they have to be taken into consideration regardless of their service length. It was also held that, putting restriction on the permanent commission to SSC women officers with less than 14 years of service would be violative of right to equality mentioned in Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
Recent example- in 2019, for the very time, a female officer Lt. Bhavana Kasturi led a contingent on the Army day Parade which was on January 15th and is held every year. She led Indian Army Service Corps where she was the only woman consisting of 144 male personnel.
Contribution Of Women In Indian Army
- Punita Sharma – She is the first Indian woman to become the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces, and also the rank of Vice Admiral of Indian Navy.
- Padmavathy Bandopadhyay– she was the first woman in Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force and to become an aviation medicine expert. She was also the first woman to conduct scientific study at the North Pole and to be indorsed to the rank of Air Vice Marshal. Lastly, she was bestowed the Vishisht Seva Medal for her worthy service during conflict of Indo-Pak.
- Mitali Madhumita– she became the first female major to receive the Sena Medal for courtesy that is given to soldiers for exemplary bravery during operations in J&K and the northeast. She led the army’s English Language Training Team in Kabul.
- Nivedita Choudhary – she became the first woman from the Indian Air Force (IAF) to summit the Mt. Everest.
- Deepika Misra – She became the first IAF woman pilot to train for the jet aerobatic team, Sarang.
Analyzing the above, we find that the decision to involve women in the Army sector proved to an appropriate one. Women have not only been a part of Indian Army but they have even achieved something and made a different position in the entire field.
There has been debates and controversies about the involvement of women in the Indian armed forces and these individuals have been highly misinformed and subjective in nature. Individuals have taken opinions and articulated view without even knowing the material entirely. It is unreasonable and a non-questionable issue to even discuss it as a debate or comparing strength of both the sexes and genders. This debate further raises a question on the strength of women being compared to men. Currently, women go hand in hand with men in both ways – physical as well as mental strength. India recognised the same long ago where in 2018, the UK military raised its ban on women serving in close battle grounds and permitted them to aid in elite special forces. Allowing women in this field not only sets a standard and removes the belief of women engaging only in household chores but also, it promotes and encourages other women and girls to achieve and be independent. Women in this field would be a benefit and provide an advantage. They have good rational and analytical skills; therefore, they can help in the required sectors. They are generally not loud and aggressive and hence, can act as a peacemaker between nation states. Also, when women can be part of the police then why there are debates and questions regarding their involvement in the Indian Army. Having doubts and opinions about women’s abilities and capabilities even after remarkable achievements then it is not only an abuse to women but also to the Indian Army. The involvement and engagement of women is not important as such but it is required so as to remove the discrepancy between men and women.
“The views of the authors are personal“
 Surbhi Nijawan, 11 Facts About the Indian Army You definitely did not know (may 09, 2017) https://www.indiatimes.com/culture/who-we-are/11-facts-about-the-indian-army-you-definitely-did-not-know-230689.html
As SC orders permanent commission to women in Indian Army, a look at armies around the world (Feb 20,2020)https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/as-sc-orders-permanent-commission-to-women-in-indian-army-a-look-at-armies-around-the-world/articleshow/74225811.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Tanvi Sharma, Opportunities For Women in the Armed Forces, https://www.successcds.net/Career/women-in-armed-forces.html
 Murali Krishnan, Women Should be Allowed Permanent Commission In Indian Army- Rules Supreme Court (February 17, 2020), https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/women-should-be-allowed-permanent-commission-in-indian-army-rules-supreme-court/story-g8zaaHchwmQbKnNnyKYJTJ.html
In a First, a Lady officer will lead an army contingent at the 71st Army Day Parade (January 9,2019) https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/lady-officer-indian-army-contingent-army-day-parade-republic-day-1426948-2019-01-09
Sanchari Pal, Marching Ahead- 13 Incredible Brave Women in Indian Armed Forces who broke the Glass Ceiling (January 24, 2017), https://www.thebetterindia.com/83280/brave-women-soldiers-indian-armed-forces/