No women JCOs and NCOs yet because there is no shortage of manpower at that level (there are stampedes at recruiting events). There is however a shortage of personnel at the Officer level. so I wouldnt count on Women NCOs and JCOs for some time to come - unless some huge shortage of men at that level happens.
It's not the IA's job to 'sensitise' anyone. It IS the IA's job though, to ensure that a jawan doesn't decide whether he 'likes' orders based on who's giving them.
and the IA is doing its stuff on that front. I was giving examples of the problems that the IA has faced in the implementation.
What is a special 'need', one that is too difficult to 'cater to' - the fact that women shouldn't be objectified? That women should be treated like any other trooper/officer?
all noble thoughts - if it is so easy to achieve it, wouldnt it already be done by now?
You're saying '900 women' NOW but I'm sure you realise that if we open up the combat roles the IA will take in a lot more women? Right now the roles are limited so the numbers are limited. If the roles available grow, won't the numbers? It won't be just 900 women and you know that.
Can you be more specfic and tell me what combat roles do you envisage? I give example of an infantry officer on siachen and suddenly shankar and you start coming up with a rear echelon combat job of an arty officer. I give you an example of an ADA woman officer who is already on the job and you come up with a vague combat role. Be specific and i will tell you the problems the IA might face.
We talk about men changing their attitudes and the IA to faciliatate this. This wont happen overnight.
To throw more fuel into the fire, what do you think of this article?
Are Women Officers Willing to Lead the Male Troops on a Patrol or Ambush Duties?
The response was mixed. Women officers with lower age and in the service group of one to four years felt thrilled considering it an adventure activity. Married women officers with higher age and in service group of five to eight years considered this out of context, felt nervous and bewildered at the thought of a single woman amongst male soldiers.
Family, children and husband remained their major concern. Young soldiers felt their responsibility will increase in such a situation â€“ given a choice they will not prefer such a situation. Some senior officers were evasive and non-committal while majority were not in favour of sending women officers on night duty or on missions of patrols, ambush and convoy protection duties in counter insurgency areas. Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) regarded the idea of a woman officer leading a patrol in counter terrorism operations a dangerous situation and gave a firm "no" to the proposal.
A study of women officers as convoy protection officers between Jammu and Srinagar was carried out. All ranks were asked if they felt secure under the protection of a woman officer as convoy commander. The response was mixed. Women officers took the job seriously. Some troops felt that in case of an eventuality it is they who will come to the forefront rather than asking a woman to do the job and were generally not in favour of such assignment for women. They felt that women soldiers must be able to protect themselves. Some soldiers felt that it did not matter whether if their commander was a woman. Young male officers who carry out similar duties felt that women officers show enthusiasm initially, however, realising that getting up at three o'clock in the morning and having a strenuous travel schedule for 12 hours as routine, throughout week, is inhuman. Problems are further complicated for married women with small children. Commanding officers have trouble in employment of women officers in operational duties, although they are posted in appointments to be occupied by male officers. Commanding officers wanted to have a free hand to treat women officers in field areas as equal to other officers. The view is shared by women officers who want professional equality and do not want to be treated with kid gloves. In some cases women officers in outdoor training tended to overdo to prove that they are physically fit and can undertake stress like men.
Some of the uncomfortable incidents experienced by women officers are men looking at them in shorts during physical training and sports sessions with penetrating and leering looks, peeping toms, appearance of other ranks at odd hours as messengers. Jokes after drinks by some officers and cases of unwarranted attention towards women in service or related to service figured occasionally. The study found that women officers including women medical officers find themselves in an awkward situation while visiting unit lines and toilets or when they have to conduct lectures on acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and sex education as part of routine job.
On Being Prisoner of War (POW)
Women officers had no idea of being taken hostage by terrorists as in Iraq or becoming POW in enemy country and how to escape and save themselves. The troops were surprised when asked about a woman officer being taken as a prisoner; most of them recalled mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers in Kargil War, rape and molestation of women in East Pakistan in 1971 by the Pakistan Army and treatment of US women POWs by Iraqi troops in the Gulf Wars. Some soldiers refreshed the memories of Border Security Force (BSF) personnel cut into pieces by Bangladesh Rifles few years back. As regards treatment of women hostages and prisoners by terrorists, the troops felt that worst could be expected from fundamentalists.
Work Place and Stress
Sources of stress for women soldiers are society, organisations and women themselves. Perception, attitude and belief of male soldiers that women soldiers do not possess the essential attributes of soldiering add to the stress. Women officers react emotionally to work problems, due to which they are unable to cope, perform and compete well in conflict situations. Women were of the opinion that revealing of the fears, secrets and doubts to another person at the workplace, or otherwise in competitive arena can lead to exploitation and unhealthy competition between genders. Some of them were highly critical of each other. Working women are likely to be prone to heart attacks, blood pressure, paralysis and high cholesterol and kidney problems due to dual stress of working at home and office, which affect the quality of life. Stress has led to consumption of alcohol and tobacco in some cases. In nuclear families, women hide or delay the treatment and live with the problems of stress.
Non-acceptance of women as soldiers by men is due to physical, physiological, psychological, biological, masculine, social and logistical reasons specific to women. Women officers share good communications with younger age group of officers and maintain a work oriented relationship with others. Some cases of tomboyish behaviour noticed amongst women officers were to the dislike of troops. Some women officers contest that they should be free to mix with male friends in off parade hours as in the civil society, being equal, independent and responsible in all respects. Women officers feel that Army requires time to understand women's competence and professional skills. Women officers are of the view that Army is a one-way road, very traditional and follows formal work culture. Women officers want opportunities to prove their competence in the colliding ideals and attitudes between genders. Majority of women officers agree that work atmosphere in the Indian Armed Forces is safer and conducive for women as compared to foreign armies and civil organisations except for some teething problems of adjustment.
An instance of harassment or maltreatment of women in military attracts more attention and sends a wrong message to youth and society that Army is an unsafe place to work in. All ranks are unanimous that media sensationalise, advertise and humiliate victims and the organisation for its benefit. An aspirant for commission who refused to undergo medical examination by male surgeons caused enough embarrassment to the organisation due to wide media coverage given to this matter. Media is of the view that these incidents cannot be dealt behind closed doors in a democratic set up and hence media acts as an indicator of happenings in society.
I am sure you will come up with enough points and counter points - to which I can also continue - and this will go on forever and I am sure you have important things to do (and so do I). and all this will lead to zero.
If you do want to make a difference, you will do better in making a paper out of it and getting it published - either in the mainstream press or even with the USI journal itself where it will have more impact than a thosuand posts over here.