Equality For Women In The Armed Forces

Free human beings have a dignity that deserves respect from legal and social institutions. The idea of human dignity usually involves an idea of equal worth: rich and poor; urban and rural; male and female are equally deserving of respect just by virtue of being human. This respect should not be compromised on any characteristic especially those dictated by the whims of nature. But in today’s world human dignity is frequently compromised on grounds of sex. Many women find themselves treated unequally in respect of employment, physical safety and integrity. In many cases discrimination is caused by their being women and in some other cases institutions construct or perpetuate inequality.

All over the world women have registered their protest over such inequality and claim the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Equality in the armed forces is a little different because the argument here is not about rights; it is about having a duty, an obligation towards one’s country. It does not seem morally fair for women in the armed forces to say that “I want equal wages and facilities, but you go and fight the wars for me”. In Germany men have initiated reverse discrimination cases arguing that men should not be singled out for frontline military duty. In India, women do not serve in the Combat Arms nor do they fly fighter aircrafts.

Against all odds, women were allowed entry into different branches of the Indian Armed forces in 1992. There was a lot of criticism, many negative predictions were made and the general belief was that induction of women would decrease, if not nullify the effectiveness of the forces. Years down the line the criticisms have metamorphosed into appreciation, the predictions are now more positive, and more branches have been opened for women induction. Since the overall feedback has been more positive than otherwise, the obvious question is, why are women not inducted into combat units? Read more

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