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W O M E N  : A R M E D   F O R C E S

Chauvinist forces
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   The armed forces of the country fall awfully short when it comes to employing women in their ranks. Indian Navy had women in their ranks They are really the prized possession...only after 1992. The women now form part of their education, logistics, medical and the air traffic control units; but surprisingly, they are neither in the combat units nor can they rise higher in the hierarchy. Indian Air Force similarly employs women in several sectors including flying helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts, but not the fighter aircrafts. In Indian Army, gender equality remains farthest in agenda. Statistically, of the total of 34,000 officers that the Army has, only 933 are women. The Navy has a majestic 100 out of 7,000, while the Air Force has 450 women in their 10,200 officer ranks. It must also be highlighted that women are in general employed only for the short service commission in most of the cases serving a maximum of 14 years.

The standard argument of 'cultural sensitivity' that is given for their non inclusion falls flat when women's inclusion into all ranks of Police hierarchy is considered. That reasoning finds few supports even historically, given the rich legacy of women fighters from Razia Sultan to Rani Laxmi Bai Regiment (in the Indian National Army). Needless to say, in changing times, the policy framework reflecting more of chauvinism needs to change.

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