Women in Armed Forces:

  • In 1888, women were recruited for the Indian Military Nursing Service. It was only in 1992, that women officers were inducted into non-medical roles in the armed forces, but only as short-service commission (SSC) officers.
  • In 2008, the Centre granted a permanent commission to women officers only in the Legal and Education corps. After Supreme Court’s intervention in 2019, women can apply for Permanent Commission (PC) in Army.
  • In 2021, with Supreme court intervention, girls were allowed to write the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance examination for the first time. As the gender barrier is lifted, 1,78,000 women have applied for the exam. By this, it is evident that now more women than ever are ready for the armed forces.
  • Allowing women in combat roles has been a big debate not just in India but in the entire world. As of now, only a few countries allow women in combat roles. Slowly Indian Armed Forces are also opening up combat roles for women. IAF started inducting women as fighter pilots in 2016. The first batch of women as soldiers were inducted into the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in 2021.
  • Slowly the situation is changing. But the share of the women workforce in the Indian armed forces is very low. As of February 2021, the share of the women workforce in the Indian Navy is 6.5%, in Army, it is 0.56%, and in Air Force, it is 1.08%.
  • In the Indian National Army (INA), which was active from 1942 to 1945 under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose, there was an all-women regiment in India. It was one of the very few all-female combat regiments of the time.
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With the help from Supreme court, women are now allowed in many roles in Indian Armed Forces, which were reserved for males earlier. But the share of the women workforce in the Indian armed forces is still very low.

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