Gender Equality in Armed Forces

Gender equality in the Indian Armed Forces has been discussed and debated for several years. Women have been serving in the Indian Armed Forces since 1992, but the scope of their roles has been limited. Women were initially only allowed to do non-combat roles, such as medical, legal, and education services. However, in recent years, the Indian government has taken steps to expand the role of women in the Armed Forces.

In 2020, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the government to grant permanent commission to women officers in all branches of the Indian Armed Forces. This was a significant step towards gender equality in the Indian Armed Forces, as previously women officers were only given short service commissions. The government has also allowed women to serve in combat roles on an experimental basis in the Indian Army.

Justice Hima Kohli said on Saturday as she was speaking at a seminar on the topic Evolution and Future of Military Jurisprudence – An Indian Army Perspective’, organised by the Institute of Military Law at Manekshaw Auditorium in New Delhi.

“Finding and recognising women role models within armed forces and acclaiming them publicly would go a long way in creating a more inclusive and equitable ecosystem for all the members of the armed forces”.

Justice Kohli emphasised that seeing women in positions of importance and at commanding posts would be a signal to all young women in a society that they could not only serve in the armed forces but also lead from the front.

This will inspire the next generation of women to break down gender barriers.  Women officers can now qualify for all commanding posts, which places them on an equal footing with their male counterparts,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of rule of law particularly since the military justice dispensation system was summary in nature, she said that transparency and accountability ought to be doubly ensured.