The Indian Army has started assigning women officers to command roles for the first time outside the medical stream. About 50 women army personnel are set to head units in operational areas, including functional locations in the operationally critical Northern and Eastern Commands that are responsible for guarding India’s borders with China.
This development comes a month after the army promoted 108 women officers to the rank of colonel through a special selection board. This move aims at establishing gender equality by offering women personnel command assignments in select branches and providing them with new, hard-earned identities. The board considered 244 women lieutenant colonels for the 108 vacancies.
Women Head Command Units In Operational Areas
"Those officers who have cleared the required medical criteria from the 108 women enlisted for promotion to colonel by the selection board are now placed in similar command additions as their male counterparts beginning February 20," an official said on Tuesday. About half of the selected women officers will command units deployed in operational areas.
The women officers belonged to the 1992–2006 batch and were commissioned in various army and service positions, including engineers, signals, army air defence, intelligence corps, army service corps, army ordnance corps, and mechanical and electrical engineers.
Since 2020, the army has granted women officers Permanent Commission (PC), paving the way for the opening of command positions.
"Assigning women to command roles is a natural career progression after they were granted PC. You cannot grant women officers PC and deny them important roles. "You've got to be prepared to give them command roles in the branches they are serving in, and that’s happening now," said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retired).
"The development has shattered the stereotype that women cannot be placed in command roles," said Lietenant Colonel Sarita Satija (retd), who served in the Army Ordnance Corps for 21 years. "The development reflects a change in the system and, more importantly, in the mindset. It also puts women on par with men. I’m certain that women will shoulder even higher responsibilities in the future," she added.
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