Women and Indian Defence Forces

A woman is the symbol determination and power. She possesses a tremendous strength into herself that is why she has been worshiped as the Goddess of Power in the Indian culture. She is supposed to have such a great vision and sensibility that nothing is impossible for her. If once she decides and becomes determined to accomplish something, nothing can stop her then! The history of India is abundant with numerous of examples and instances where Indian women have proved that they are not less than men not even in terms of physical power. Generally women are considered to be physically and emotionally weaker indentities. Her emotions and too much of the sentiments are contemplated to represent her as a delicate and feeble personality. But if that’s so, how can one forget the names of the bravest and great women who had not only rendered their endeavors for the sake of their motherland but also sacrificed their lives to rescue the pride and dignity of their country. I would run short of words if I begin to mention those great names; Sarojini Naidu, Kasturba Gandhi, Rani Laxmi Bai, Vijayalaxmi Pandit, Annie Besant, who so bravely stood alone for the sake of their country, fought against all the odds and made their remarkable and unforgettable place in the history of India. Women are undoubtedly strong and brave. They represent a sharp sense of maturity.

Women of today are ambitious and equally determined like Men

Women are not anyway less than men. Nevertheless, in the male dominated and patriarchal society of India, life has not been so easy and appealing to the women. Still, Indian women have travelled a long mile and have struggled earnestly to attain a pride and success in their lives. Today, there is no such field or area where women have not contributed and earned success. The women of today are educated, vibrant, talented and intelligent. They have the potential to serve and to contribute. Especially the youth seems to be innovative and explorative and they want to serve the country with their new ideas and actions. Young girls are enthusiastic and career oriented and being the female fundamentally they have the feelings of service, compassion and helping within them. They want to utilize their potential and knowledge in a best possible way, hence they search for the right platform and opportunities for themselves. India, is a male dominated country and patriarchy is the famous trend of its society where the women is treated as weaker in comparison to men in terms of physical, emotional and social power. But the fact is that women are rather emotionally stronger and stable than men. They are not less determined and courageous than men. In fact, women are adding remarkable stances of their courage and strength in those areas which are considered as the male dominated workplaces. One such area is Armed Forces of the country.

Women are equally Responsible to Serve and Sacrifice for the country

So far, numerous women have joined the defense services of India for their own fair reasons. But today is the time for women to join the Armed Forces of the country, purposely and voluntarily. Why should these services remain limited only to the men when women can also deliver significant endeavors from their side? It is not only the men who are supposed to serve and sacrifice for  the country, women are also nonetheless eligible and should take it as their responsibility being a citizen of the country to contribute for the service of the nation.

Time for Women to Join Armed Forces, willfully & Enthusiastically

Women are equally accountable and capable like wise men and they should also feel it to be their duty towards their country. If one can make a beneficial use of her knowledge and caliber of the welfare and service of the country, what else would be more commendable! Moreover the jobs under defense services are the most prestigious and dignified positions in the country. It fills one with utmost pride and prestige to join these services. And what else would be more admirable for a woman to join and work in the defense services. After all it would immensely help her to prove, improve and to employ her potential and education in a best possible way. It would also help the women to raise and improve their social status. They would obviously be treated with dignity and respect. In fact they would be treated as the examples of brave and great women of the country. The jobs in defense services are highly lucrative. It is a way to attain pride, good remuneration and strong position and for women these services are one of the finest and the best opportunities to elevate their status and position in the society.

Young girls should be enthusiastic to opt these services because there are various opportunities provided for the females that are enough to allure anyone. Gone are the days when women used to opt only the teaching career considering it to be the safest and easiest job for them but today young girls and women are aspiring for higher studies and diversified career options. They are doctors, engineers, scientists, administrators, bureaucrats and so on. They want to be established as professionals and wish to attain economical independence. In the male dominated society everyday comes as a big challenge for the women because they need to prove their existence at each and every stage of their lives. When a female chooses the defense service as her career and work, she definitely makes a fair and rational decision which she should be proud of. And here the family of the girl is also proud of her because their daughter is devoting herself to serving the nation and choosing a different way that makes her outstanding among the other people.

Women are now rising, playing an active role and trying to maintain the high morale of the Armed Forces by the means of participating in the various social and welfare tasks of the branches of the Forces. Even the society and the nation as well expect the women to continue their efforts from a futuristic, modern and progressive point of view. Few personalities are well deserving of the mention to inspire and to motivate the young girls and women to join the Armed Forces. Shanti Tigga who joined Railway Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army, 35 years old and a mother of two, was the first one to become the first ‘Woman Jawan’. Usually women are allowed to join the armed forces only at the officer ranks in the non-combat units, but Shanti achieved the distinction of becoming the first lady Jawan in the 1.3 million defense forces. Recently, Indian Navy for the first time has inducted two ladies into a combat arm. Sub-Lieutenants Ambica Hooda from Haryana and Seema Rani Sharma from Uttar Pradesh would now serve the nation as ‘Naval Observers’. They both would serve as the Airbone Tacticians who conduct operations in the Indian Navy’s multi-role Dorner aircraft which is basically a military aircraft..

Veena Saharan, 27 years old is the first and the only lady selected as pilot for IL-76, the heaviest Aircraft called ‘Gajraj’. She became the first lady pilot to fly one of the gigantic and the mightiest aircraft of the Indian Air Force; the Russian built Illyushin-76. Padma Bandopadhyay, 55, is the first woman Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India and the first Indian Woman who conducted scientific research at the North Pole.

Indian Armed Forces, Women and Opportunities

Indian Armed Forces consist of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Indian Coast Guard. For a long period of time the role of women in defense services or Indian armed forces, was only limited to medical professionals; doctors and nurses but in 1992, new opportunities were open for women to work as regular officers in logistics, aviation, engineering and executive cadre. Currently, in the non-medical cadre women serve as Short Service Commissioned (SSC) Officers. Under SSC, women can serve in the armed forces for a period of 5-14 years.  A Short Serivce Commission empowers a person with the qualities like analytical thinking, planning skills, organizational and administrative abilities.

SSC officers can avail some benefits as the ex-serviceperson and are released with gratuity, but they do not get pension while women in the medical branch as doctors and nurses can serve and Permanet Commissioned (PC) Officers and they can avail pension after their retirement. They also have the opportunity to serve as SSC Officers. Following are the branches of the Armed Forces where women can work :


  • Non-Technical Branch – Special Entry Scheme. Intelligence Corps (linguistic Officer) Judge Advocate General (JAG), Education Corps (AEC).
  • Technical Branch – Signals Corps, EME Corps (electrical and mechanical branch) and Engineer Corps.


Women are inducted in the following branches as Officers.

  •  Observer, ATC, Law, Logistic, Education and  Naval Architecture

The Indian Government has also given its approval for Permanent Commission (PC) IN Education, Law and Naval Architecture after completing the SSC tenure based upon merit.


Apparently, the Indian Air Force possesses the maximum number of exciting career options for women. This branch demands of high level of technical skills and sharp mental aptitudes. For a long time women have proved their potential in serving technical and non technical branches of the Air Force like, Education, Accounts, Meteorological etc. There are three major segments in the Air Force; Technical Branch, Flying Branch and the Ground Duty Wing. Flying Branch includes; transport and helicopter pilot and navigators.

Presently, Indian Army counts 2.44% of Women in its rank, Indian Navy counts 3.0% and Indian Air Force counts 6.7% of women recruited.

Bright Opportunities for Women in Paramilitary Forces of  India

 Women can anticipate their bright future under Paramilitary services which assist in civil discipline, guard frontiers, maintaining law and order. There are six types of forces which provide paramilitary services; Assam Rifles, The Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF), The Border Securities Force (BSF), The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), State Police Forces and Home-Guards, Railway Protection Forces, Fire Services etc. The CPRF is the first central force to recruit women in the combat ranks. This force presently possesses two operational battalions with 2,000 women and the third has been raised by 1,000 women. The first batch of 650 women has also been inducted in the BSF for the border guarding duties. Other forces which assign the combat roles to women are Sashastra Seema Bal with 700 women personnel and Indo-Tibetan Border Police with 800 women personnel. The CISF possesses around 1,700 women personnel. As per the planning of Indian government there is a plan to recruit 20,000 more armed women personnel in the paramilitary forces in the next 3-5years. As per this new plan proposed by the Indian Home Ministry, all the paramilitary forces including CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB & NSG would have 5% of their total personnel strength as women in three years and 10% in the further five years. Under the plan women would be recruited and deployed for the general guard duties, patrolling, chasing suspects and other normal policing activities.

Paramilitary are one of the best and suitable career options for the women who are physically sound and love adventure and moreover it these services are accompanied with numerous benefits, allowances and flexibilities. Indian government has advocated new guidelines for the posting of the women deployed at the border and in the forces BSF, SSB and ITBP near to their hometowns. Especially the married woman is to be stationed at the same place where her husband is posted given that he is too a government servant. Nevertheless if this planning would not be possible to accomplish then the posting would be allotted to the place which can be covered by overnight journey.

Short Service Commission Jobs are beneficial for Women in every respect

women-in-indian-defence-forcesIndian Armed forces have a beneficial alternative career option for all those women who want to serve the country and want to opt among the most prestigious jobs of the country for few years and that is known as the Short Service Commission. Medical and technical sectors are the most desirable and preferable areas where women can work. Women can serve the forces for 4-15 years under the short service commission ( as technical, Law, Education, Medical, Logistic officers). Being appointed as the officers women are given privileges and benefits and also given a full fledged training in such a way that helps them to groom and upgrade their personalities in a better way. As the commissioned officers women get many bright opportunities to prove themselves as leaders and strong individuals. After clearing the exam for the admission women are also given defense training where they are being trained in physical defense techniques. This fills the women with utmost confidence and courage. Those who are recruited through the Women Special Entry Scheme and NCC Special Entry Scheme are already trained and groomed in all the respects. There is a vast scope of travelling around the country with the provisions of transfers, promotions and movements. Usually lady officers get married to the gentlemen in the armed forces and as per the new formulated policies married women officers would be transferred together with their spouse. There is also the provision of maternity leave to afford the pre and post-natal care. After retirement also they can avail medical facilities. After the tenure of SSC completes lady officers can also apply for Permanent Commission if wish so. Young girls should genuinely choose for Short Service Commission Jobs as it will give them the chance to serve the country with pride and privileges.

As per the present scenario of the society and nation, Indian women truly need to act wisely to raise their position and authority. They are not treated well in which the manner they should be. They are lacking in social acceptance, respect, freedom, independence and dignity. Those women who are highly educated are not properly recruited and those who are less educated they do not find a suitable option for them. They need to employ their potential in such areas where they are well treated and rewarded. Armed Forces not only provide professional assistance to women but they bestow women a totally new space and sphere where they can grow and rise. With so many flexibilities, privileges and facilities provided by the jobs in the armed forces, women can easily become independent. The pays and allowances are quite handsome. During the trainings of the cadre women are trained in physical defense and security. From a broader perspective Indian Armed Forces are giving women a huge and vast platform where they are at no loss. People see them with utmost respect and honour. Women can sense security and satisfaction both in these works. And in return for these all benefits they are just expected to reach out of their small customized zones where they see themselves as limited and trapped. And need to step out to explore their hidden potential and strength.

The present time demands the women to prove themselves that are truly the ‘Shakti-Swarupa’, that they are the true server, care taker and possess the virtue of wisdom. Time to show that nothing is impossible for the Women, if they can create a home they can create their own sky to fly high. If they are the creator of a family then they can be ruthless to the enemy of their motherland family like people. They are not only the homemakers they can be the best policy makers, officers, fighters and administrators. India is calling out its daughters to show their wonders and great virtues they have been blessed with. Serving the country will give many opportunities to the women to feel proud of and to ascent their hold in the society.

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