For the first time ever, India has inducted women officials to join the team of disaster combat and rescue operations. The team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), India’s primary rescue outfit, now has 100 women officials who are trained in disaster combat. The move is being hailed as a “great symbol of pride, inclusion and gender sensitivity,” since it is a big step in breaking the glass ceiling that bars women from partaking in high-pressure jobs.
Latest reports suggest the women’s team has already been deployed to the town of Garh Mukteshwar along the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. NDRF Director General SN Pradhan told news agency PTI, “The first women rescuers’ team is already on ground. Recently, the UP government requisitioned an NDRF team and they (women) went there (Garh Mukteshwar). The team handled the rescue boats and related equipments. These personnel have all the skills to be called complete rescuers.”
Women Break The Glass Ceiling In Disaster Combat
As of now, only 100 officials have been inducted, but the DG claims more women – upto 200 – will be added to the team in the future. NDRF has reportedly only been authorised to have 108 women officials for every 1000 personnel. Women joining the team will take positions at constabulary, sub-inspector, and inspector ranks.
DG Pradhan has emphasised that women will also be deployed in disaster situations where female leverage is necessary, such as when rescuing victims that are women. He was further quoted saying, “We can deploy both components of an all-woman NDRF team or a mix squad of male and female personnel for responding to a situation. We prefer the second because if there is complement of women personnel it makes a great difference on the ground where women, children and old persons are being rescued.”
Women Vocal For Their Place In The Forces
Over in the armed forces, women officials in the Indian Navy have long been fighting for a permanent commission. We recently reported that ten Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the forces have filed petitions for the same.
In March 2020, in a landmark judgment, the court ruled in their favour, asking the centre and Navy to allow permanent commission for SSC officers. After a plea, the deadline was extended till December 31, 2020, which is when the SSC officers were to be released from services. The SC has stayed their release. Read more on that here.
Image Credit: The Telegraph