Indian Navy breaks last barrier to gender equality - allows permanent commission to womenSharika Nair
The Navy has allowed seven women officers of the Short Service Commission batch of 2008-09 to opt for permanent commission, thereby becoming the last of the three armed forces, after the Army and the Air Force, to remove this barrier for women. Women officers could only serve on Short Service Commission of 14 years till now. From now, women officers can opt for the permanent role, though they have to choose the same at the start of their service.
A Ministry of Defence press release also stated that from 2017 women officers can choose to join as pilots of maritime reconnaissance planes and the Naval Armament Inspectorate cadre. So now eight new cadres will be opened for women officers in the navy. The navy is also planning to allow women officers to serve on select warships that have appropriate facilities for women. In 2015, the Indian Air Force had announced induction of women in its fighter stream, the first of the three forces to allow women in combat roles.
Last year, a Delhi High Court bench had allowed women naval officers’ plea seeking retirement benefits like pension. Women naval officers had not been eligible for pension as it required a minimum 20 years of service.
According to Defence sources women officers will have to meet medical fitness standards and a good annual confidential report to be considered for permanent commission.
The Defence forces continue to be the last male bastion in many countries. Just last week, the US army had allowed 22 women to join on-the-ground combat jobs for the first time, following the adoption of new policies. British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon had stated recently that he hopes that the British army opens up combat roles to women in 2016, saying defence roles should be determined by ability and not gender.