Government asks forces to open more doors for women

The Armed forces were directed by the Government to examine granting Permanent Commission (PC) in the additional streams other than the legal and educational fields already eligible for, to the women officers.

A.K.Antony, the Defence Minister, stated on Friday 10th of June 2011 that, in a recent meeting he had asked the three Service chiefs, Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V.K. Singh, to open their services more for women officers.

Antony anticipates that the historic feat and achievement would be yet another step in giving more representation to women in more streams of the armed forces.

Though since early- 1990s women officers were serving in the armed forces in the areas of legal, educational, engineering, ordinance, intelligence, signals, air traffic control etc; they could serve only as short-service commission officers for a maximum of 14 years.

As now, the women constitute barely 2.5% to 6% of the officer cadre in the predominantly male environs of the armed forces. But of course, they are not allowed to serve in combat arms like infantry, artillery or armoured corps, nor serve on board operational warships or fly fighter jets. The IAF has over 50 women helicopter and transport aircraft pilots.

It has been long contended by the military brass that, due to operational, practical and cultural problems, it is not feasible to grant PC to women officers across the board.