Women in Combat

The Military Issues & History Forum is a venue to discuss issues relating to the military aspects of the Indian Armed Forces, whether the past, present or future. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15811
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Karan M » 19 Jun 2011 21:53

With all due respect Rajesh, you seem to have little idea of the harsh conditions in which Indian soldiers operate in. Even trained athletes from the male gender will find it hard to survive in the Indian Army, given the harsh conditions they live in and are expected to perform in. Most women will not be able to manage in such conditions and that is a fact. This is not the US Army, with all sorts of concessions made for living conditions and FOBs with some decent facilities often, but the Indian Army. Try and read up on the Kargil conflict and the kind of conditions the IA officers and jawans fought in, after having subsisted on even snow and shakarparhas (when they had some) having no way to go back downhill for supplies. The so called modern Indian Army today still has equipment that would make most western soldiers blanch and complain about inhumane expectations. The emphasis is on performance, not ergonomics or creature comforts. You mentioned tankers, think about how many women (given Indian societal expectations) would prefer to be in a steel furnace like Indian T-tanks, face crisped by sunlight and dust, and days without proper facilities for food, creature comforts like baths and the like. A tin of water in the lager when you have time, if you are lucky. Try reloading a tank with heavy shells and then think about whether physical strength is required or not. All the glitz and glamor Army shows in peacetime locations is bare recompense for the brutal lifestyle they have during wartime and even during border deployments with limited infrastucture. The Army is not an affirmative action vehicle. That has been done to all other GOI departments and the limitations are well known.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 19 Jun 2011 22:36

Karam M ji,

I thank you for this primer. I again emphasize that physical strength is just one small aspect, of what I was trying to get to, and that is that there should be no glass ceiling for Indian women who want to serve in the Indian Armed Services.

Shrinivasan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2195
Joined: 20 Aug 2009 19:20
Location: Gateway Arch
Contact:

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Shrinivasan » 19 Jun 2011 22:44

RajeshA wrote:are you suggesting setting up 3 new services - an Indian All Women's Army, an Indian All Women's Navy, an Indian All Women's Air Force? :wink:

very funny, you introduced a non argument, enticed a satirical barb and now are trying to demolish this with humour

tsarkar
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2530
Joined: 08 May 2006 13:44
Location: mumbai

Re: Women in Combat

Postby tsarkar » 19 Jun 2011 23:06

There is another issue - that of endurance.

Rani Jhansi Lakshmibai and Kitoor Chenamma were blaze of glory. They practiced for a few hours daily and in their final battles, were in combat zone for a few days to a few months.

They did not daily climb up and down mountains or patrol vast areas daily on horseback for 17 years.

Now, Russian women in WW2 and our Pholan Devi did engage in combat for longer durations, but their personal lives were zero. They never had stable relationships or children. They accepted it because they didnt have any other choice

Now, men have relatively lesser emotional attachments.

I'll illustrate using an example. For a woman, the biological urge to have a baby before 35 is strong, followed by the emotional urge to take care for it.

A man can willingly die knowing his wife will raise their child. A woman will be unsure & hesitant whether her husband will be capable of providing for the emotional and biological needs of the child.

I know two girls who joined IAF Engineering, and they left completing SSC for the above reasons. And the women demanding PC are doing so for the reasons of job security rather than the desire of facing combat.

Now I will be more than happy to see women manning Nishant/Rustom/AURA sensors or firing Nag missiles off them, and indeed in these roles women are being accepted, but ultimately job requirements should decide the personnel staffing it.

There should not be discrimination against the job.
Last edited by tsarkar on 19 Jun 2011 23:18, edited 1 time in total.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 19 Jun 2011 23:08

cheenum wrote:
RajeshA wrote:are you suggesting setting up 3 new services - an Indian All Women's Army, an Indian All Women's Navy, an Indian All Women's Air Force? :wink:

very funny, you introduced a non argument, enticed a satirical barb and now are trying to demolish this with humour
How else should I then demolish a satirical barb? rhetorically speaking!

Gurneesh
BRFite
Posts: 471
Joined: 14 Feb 2010 21:21
Location: Troposphere

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gurneesh » 19 Jun 2011 23:12

Maybe this point of view of mine in BS, but anyways if we look from a male soldier's point view, then having women in his group might be even more stressfull for him.

What I mean to say is that to be on combat/forward area duties is very stressful (be it men or women). Now men tend to unwind generally through sports (if available) or more often that not through light hearted banter (without any restraint on the type of conversation or language used). In a group of only men, most will laugh and the one targeted will frown a bit but everything is forgotten the next day. But having women, in the group will surely make them uncomfortable and edge towards thinking of sexual harassment (even when there was no such intention). Most of the times what would happen is that the men in group will always try to act courteous and decent (and in the process lose out on avenues of unwinding).

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 19 Jun 2011 23:12

tsarkar wrote:There should not discrimination against the job.


That's the whole point. If a woman thinks she can handle it, and she proves equal to her men colleagues in training for the job, then she should be allowed to do it, and not be dismissed for the role because she is a woman.

If she has no such motivation, then all iz well!

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15811
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Karan M » 19 Jun 2011 23:22

Rajesh A,

Unless you can back up how & why the average woman recruit can match the average male recruit for the combat arms, in terms of ALL that is expected of them, including physical strength, it makes no sense for the Army to change its policies. Hence, there will be no women in the combat arms and there will be a "glass ceiling" as far as these arms are concerned. If Indian society and nutritional standards all advance to the extent that - women can do all that the average male soldier can, without concern about privacy and their physical standard advances to the extent that they can handle all the hazardous tasks a man can, then this policy should be revisited, not before that.

Call it discrimination, call it whatever - the same applies to all those men with minor physical ailments and defects which rule them out for service and which are thoroughly screened for at the time of recruitment. In practical terms, sometimes these may not even translate to operational concerns, but the Indian Armed services do not brook any chance. In the west, many of those rejected by the Indian services would actually be inducted. Take a look at some of the gentlemen who join the Army or even Marines and they would not even pass the first physical requirements in the Indian context. The Indian Armed forces do not or cannot depend on technology and creature comforts to the extent the west employs, and hence they prefer their human factor to compensate. Its unfair to the average Indian perhaps who has starry eyed visions of being in the forces, but it is what it is.

Logically speaking, the "glass ceiling" exists for a reason. If the Armed forces had no other option, they would revisit it, but as things stand, the cons outweigh the pros.

negi
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 12918
Joined: 27 Jul 2006 17:51
Location: Trying to mellow down :)

Re: Women in Combat

Postby negi » 19 Jun 2011 23:55

RajeshA wrote:That's the whole point. If a woman thinks she can handle it, and she proves equal to her men colleagues in training for the job, then she should be allowed to do it, and not be dismissed for the role because she is a woman.If she has no such motivation, then all iz well!

Which is fine but if you noticed the SSB selection standards be it the exam or even the physical standards they are different for men and women ; unfortunately the enemy won't make such a distinction. Case in point why is that there is no provision for women to join the armed forces via the non-commissioned route i.e. as a jawan/sailor/airman ?

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 20 Jun 2011 00:23

Karam M ji,

basically you're saying that even if a woman (call her an exception, call her one of the few, whatever) can match a man in all forms of physical strength and endurance, the Indian Armed Services would not let her achieve her potential! What if she were a brilliant tactician, a leader, she would still not be allowed to lead the Indian Armed Forces. I'm sorry I don't see the merit in not appreciating merit!

The men you speak of with disabilities, they probably cannot endure the stress of the job. Do you want to imply that we should now consider women as people with disabilities.

You talk of nutrition and physical strength of women, etc., but that varies from one region to another, from one family to another, from one genealogy to another! In such a huge country just because the average nutritional standard is low, that means nothing because there can be substantial number of Indian women, who can fulfill all required criteria.

What you talk of is policy inertia! Why can't the Armed Forces be the ones to set the standards in society by taking up an active role in its evolution? What is wrong with being pro-active? May be if the Indian Armed Forces publicize that women too can join the armed forces and rise up in the hierarchy and make a real career out of it, many more parents may consider it an option for their daughters and make a bigger effort at their nutrition and physical fitness. Of course the message would have to be relayed through the media, so it too would play a part in this education.

It is always the prime institutions of a nation that drive the innovation and its evolution. Should the Indian Armed Forces not be considered a prime institution?

In a couple of decades, people say India would be more than a 30 trillion economy compared to the US economy which is today half that size! Should the Armed Forces not be thinking a little more futuristically as well regarding its human resources?

Let merit drive the recruitment policies and not discriminatory policy inertia!

Gaur
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2013
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 23:19

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gaur » 20 Jun 2011 00:51

^^
RajeshA,
I somewhat understand what you are saying. In an ideal world, a women with exceptional physical strength should be allowed entry into infantry. Sadly, it is not an ideal world.
Tell me, if Army allows entry of women in infantry without lowering the physical standards, how many women will qualify per year. I am sure that you would agree that it would be a trickle. Then the media would cry of how Army is discriminating against women by only allowing a token entry. Then what? The Army would be forced to lower the standards. Then the social aspect. Will an average jawan from rural area have full confidence upon his female leader? Especially when there are only female Officers but no female jawans? Its sad, but that is the prevalent social mindset.

Moreover, the female Officers in other branches have not given Army much confidence. This is more so in AMC. It is not uncommon for Women Officers to "refuse" temporary duties on "compassionate grounds". So, all this talk of equality goes out of window when they finally join the services. Then, they want special treatment. Don't get me wrong. Most of the Women Doctors are doing an excellent job, but there regular cases like these which leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Gurinder P
BRFite
Posts: 209
Joined: 30 Oct 2010 18:11
Location: Beautiful British Columbia

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gurinder P » 20 Jun 2011 05:46

Excellent points Gaur.

However I am going to disagree on some that were made. The IA will never force the degradation of physical standards, hence only the mentally and physically fit will pass; survival of the fittest as they say. If the media cries faul, well they would be a bunch of blithering idiotic morons for not seeing that the female attrition rate would be due to under education and lack of physical stamina due to social issues.

I do however agree that filters must be kept to ensure the level of excellence. Case in point: at my job, a female applicant of short stature and physical limitations was denied a job for a position as a trolley operator because the company felt that she wouldn't be able to do poll pulling and such. She sued the company and was able to get the job in the end but she didn't last six months.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35041
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 20 Jun 2011 06:28

Gurneesh wrote:Maybe this point of view of mine in BS, but anyways if we look from a male soldier's point view, then having women in his group might be even more stressfull for him..

Gurneesh its not BS. You are dead right. But nobody would guess how true that is. I would recommend to you two books that deal in depth with the psychology of men at war.

I link them below. When it comes to discussion with some insight - guesswork is no alternative to reading and learning, for those of us who are not actually in the line of fire.

Amazon.com links to those books are:
Acts of War: Behavior of Men in Battle
Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command
Last edited by shiv on 20 Jun 2011 07:06, edited 1 time in total.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35041
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 20 Jun 2011 06:49

Gaur wrote:Tell me, if Army allows entry of women in infantry without lowering the physical standards, how many women will qualify per year. I am sure that you would agree that it would be a trickle. Then the media would cry of how Army is discriminating against women by only allowing a token entry.


Well put Gaur.

Below are two charts indicating the heights and weights of Indian boys and girls. If you take 5 foot 3 (160 cm) as the cut off you find that 97% of boys grow over 160 cm while only 25% of girls grow over 160 cm.

Taking the fairly short height of 5 foot 3 as a standard, non sex-discriminating cutoff- 75% of Indian girls will be excluded.

If you take the cut off to enter the army as 5 foot 2, almost 100% of boys are likely to qualify on height while less than 75% (but more tan 50%) of girls will qualify.

If you lower the height standards a whole lot of boys who were disqualified then become qualified. These will then be "competitors" to the girls who qualify with lowered standards. How do you exclude them? So the physical standards are already set lower to let women in. Google uncle will confirm this. How far can an army take this game of lowering physical standards to mollify the ghost of Gloria Steinem is moot.

Image
Image

PS all this has been discussed before on this thread.
Last edited by shiv on 20 Jun 2011 07:03, edited 1 time in total.

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16481
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: woh log gawad hai, unpad hai !
Contact:

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rahul M » 20 Jun 2011 06:57

Rajesh ji, how is it equality when you are advocating lower standards for one section of society ?

>> We can't run from the media. We should mould it.
why not do it first and I will concede the point. the forces gets enough bad press and vilification as it is, most of it undeserved.

>> I am all for having tough training and merit, but I am not for simply using exaggerated physical
>> strength requirements as a criteria and excuse to disqualify women.

"exaggerated physical requirements" ? if the standards are indeed exaggerated could IA have filled its ranks of a million plus ? sorry, the argument makes no sense.
and "excuse" to disqualify women ? FYI, the standards have been in place long before the arguments of inducting women even arose. you are putting the cart before the horse.

>> Perhaps you may like to suggest some reaction to the piece, which would sound less pontificating!

this article was originally posted in the first few pages of this thread and there have been numerous posts commenting on it, including some from me.
Once one joins the service one is not simply a man or a woman, one becomes a warrior, a protector. That is why I said we should look at servicemen and servicewomen in a gender-neutral way. I don't know about society, but if any one of our warriors falls into the hands of the enemy, then we should simply consider it as a warrior having been captured, regardless of the gender. I also made a proposal as to how that can be better accepted - using mandatory reversible tubal ligation for all those women, who would wish to serve in a "combat-risk" capacity.
the bolded part is the problem. who is 'we' ?
you and I on BR do not constitute society and the one that exists today, even the so called liberated segments of it are nearly not mature enough to think in that way.
again, I don't see why the army has to take it upon itself to become a social reformer for a cause that would add very little to its overall capabilities. it has enough on its plate as it is.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 20 Jun 2011 16:26

Rahul M wrote:Rajesh ji, how is it equality when you are advocating lower standards for one section of society ?

Rahul M ji,

I have been trying to correct the impression by some, that I am advocating lower standards for women. I am not.

As you say yourself, perhaps the society is not ready for such changes, and neither would many in the Indian Military be happy about inducting women in "non-traditional" front line roles. My comment was simply meant to convey that even after some hypothetical policy reform when women may be allowed to participate, those trainers who may have something ideological against having women participating, could use physical fitness as a tool to disqualify even those women, who otherwise would have proven that they can cope with the current training standards used to test their men colleagues.

My comment was directed at trainers and examiners who may be ideologically against inducting women, and that one would have to be aware that they are giving the women a fair chance, that they are neutral as far as gender is concerned.

My comment was not about advocating lower training standards.

All I am saying is let there be training standards, whatever they are, but let women also give a shot at it to see whether they can qualify, instead of barring women altogether.

Rahul M wrote:
RajeshA wrote:We can't run from the media. We should mould it.

why not do it first and I will concede the point. the forces gets enough bad press and vilification as it is, most of it undeserved.

Moulding the media takes place continuously, but on any single issue it is always on a per need basis. Perhaps I should try to explain what I mean with a little scenario:

A woman soldier gets captured by the enemy. The media start playing the tune that how can the Army allow a woman to serve on the front-line and take such risks. The media starts speculating what ordeal she would be going through. The media starts hammering the Army, asking them what all they are doing to get her freed. The media starts presenting it as an "aurat ki ijjat" issue!

Now the Army can go on the defensive, on the back foot and start being apologetic about it. Or the Army can go on the offensive and tell the media, that yes a servicewoman has been captured, and they will try to get her freed, as would be the case with any soldier. The Army should tell the media, that the woman soldier had shown bravery at the battlefront, as do many other women soldiers from India. The Army should tell the media, that they should not do a disservice to the honor of a soldier woman, caricaturing the woman as some weakling. The woman soldier captured is a warrior who knew what she was doing. The gender of the captured soldier is not an issue!

Rahul M wrote:
RajeshA wrote:I am all for having tough training and merit, but I am not for simply using exaggerated physical strength requirements as a criteria and excuse to disqualify women.


"exaggerated physical requirements" ? if the standards are indeed exaggerated could IA have filled its ranks of a million plus ? sorry, the argument makes no sense.
and "excuse" to disqualify women ? FYI, the standards have been in place long before the arguments of inducting women even arose. you are putting the cart before the horse.

Rahul M ji,

I hope I could clarify earlier, that I am not advocating lowering the training standards, simply pointing out that one should be careful that the issue of physical fitness for women is not abused by those who don't want women to be a part.

Rahul M wrote:Perhaps you may like to suggest some reaction to the piece, which would sound less pontificating!
RajeshA wrote:this article was originally posted in the first few pages of this thread and there have been numerous posts commenting on it, including some from me.

I tried searching for some post using the search words "Women Combat sexual harassment", "Women Combat Mrinal Suman", it didn't throw up any relevant hits. I believe you, when you say, you commented on the issue. Just that my searches were not successful.

The point was, that I was not pontificating, as you interpreted my comments. It was a natural reaction to what the author had written.

Rahul M wrote:
RajeshA wrote:Once one joins the service one is not simply a man or a woman, one becomes a warrior, a protector. That is why I said we should look at servicemen and servicewomen in a gender-neutral way. I don't know about society, but if any one of our warriors falls into the hands of the enemy, then we should simply consider it as a warrior having been captured, regardless of the gender. I also made a proposal as to how that can be better accepted - using mandatory reversible tubal ligation for all those women, who would wish to serve in a "combat-risk" capacity.

the bolded part is the problem. who is 'we' ?
you and I on BR do not constitute society and the one that exists today, even the so called liberated segments of it are nearly not mature enough to think in that way.
again, I don't see why the army has to take it upon itself to become a social reformer for a cause that would add very little to its overall capabilities. it has enough on its plate as it is.


Patriarchalism is so ingrained in us, that we do not for a moment consider that society is as much as half composed of women, so they too have a right to speak up. Being a democracy with universal suffrage, it is already enshrined that women would have an equal say. Protection of India is just as much their worry as it is the worry of Indian men. Women are an equal stake-holder in India's protection. Constitutionally speaking, I just don't know with what right we can tell a woman not to fight for her country if she can prove herself to be just as tough as any of the male candidates.

Rahul M wrote:I don't see why the army has to take it upon itself to become a social reformer for a cause that would add very little to its overall capabilities. it has enough on its plate as it is.

I don't accuse of any of the following thinking, but I must say, that sounds a tad casteistic!! A Kshatriya says there is no need for the Shudras to join the Army because it wouldn't contribute anything, and the Army isn't doing social reform. I am just giving an analogy.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 20 Jun 2011 16:36

Rahul M ji,

For some reason, I was also reminded of a scene from the Lord of the Rings.
Last edited by Rahul M on 20 Jun 2011 17:25, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: pics deleted.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 20 Jun 2011 16:54

shiv wrote:Below are two charts indicating the heights and weights of Indian boys and girls. If you take 5 foot 3 (160 cm) as the cut off you find that 97% of boys grow over 160 cm while only 25% of girls grow over 160 cm.


shiv saar,

No need to lower the standards. 3% of girls grow over 168 cm. 3% of all the girls in India above 16 and less than say 25, say those who would be qualified, would be quite a lot. No?

Some madrassa maths: There are around 273 million girls in India below the age of 25, taking the gender ratio into consideration. Say 60 million are between 18 and 25. 3% of those would be 1.8 million girls who would be above 168 cm in the right age for recruitment. Let's say 1% show interest - that still makes it 18,000 girls!

Why not let them have a go at it?!

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12964
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Lalmohan » 20 Jun 2011 17:02

rural women are also quite fit, i am sure they have can very good endurance given some sustained proper nutrition (that the army can provide) - apart from lifting big loads, i think they will be quite physically capable of running, climbing and working long hours

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35041
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 20 Jun 2011 17:11

RajeshA wrote:Why not let them have a go at it?!

I'm not stopping anyone. In fact even I am out of this thread for the foreseeable future.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 20 Jun 2011 17:25

shiv wrote:
RajeshA wrote:Why not let them have a go at it?!

I'm not stopping anyone. In fact even I am out of this thread for the foreseeable future.

The rhetorical question was directed at all who think women should not participate in combat-risk duty in the Indian Armed Forces!

Rahul M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 16481
Joined: 17 Aug 2005 21:09
Location: woh log gawad hai, unpad hai !
Contact:

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rahul M » 20 Jun 2011 17:47

I don't accuse of any of the following thinking, but I must say, that sounds a tad casteistic!! A Kshatriya says there is no need for the Shudras to join the Army because it wouldn't contribute anything, and the Army isn't doing social reform. I am just giving an analogy.
I am not going to defend myself against ridiculous comments like that one or try to understand the import of LOTR images which seem to have exceeded bandwidth of the server.

anyway, you want to make this an ideological issue while it is a practical one. the forces have to deal with reality day in and day out and do not have time to engage in ivory tower theorizing.

whichever you put it, the number of women soldiers who would clear the minimum physical requirement for combat troops AND want to serve is miniscule. from simple statistical considerations the army has no reason to go out of its way to accommodate a handful of soldiers at high cost and potential cohesion problems, the rewards are not worth the effort.

in a modern army, 1 out of ten soldiers perform combat duty on the frontline and the rest 9 support him. it's a bit higher for IA but the point stands. 90% of the jobs in the forces are open to women or will be in the near future, why is that not enough. I am not sure why only the 10% would be considered as contributing meaningfully and not the rest 90% who constitute the bulk of the military ?

given the state of our society, arguing beyond this seems like intellectual masturbation to me. as a matter of fact, even in supposedly more liberal societies than ours, like the US, women officers face a very big problem of insubordination.

about the media circus, you are again responding assuming ideal world scenarios, while the reality is that media cares 2 hoots for what army says and relishes every opportunity to screw it. it doesn't even hesitate to crucify them over made up charges.
why don't you change that first before you ask the forces to sacrifice themselves on your altar of ideological perfection ?

Lalmohan wrote:rural women are also quite fit, i am sure they have can very good endurance given some sustained proper nutrition (that the army can provide) - apart from lifting big loads, i think they will be quite physically capable of running, climbing and working long hours
women from this group are already getting inducted in BSF and CRPF. which is excellent because there the problems with serving in frontline army combat groups does not arise.

UBanerjee
BRFite
Posts: 502
Joined: 20 Mar 2011 01:41
Location: Washington DC

Re: Women in Combat

Postby UBanerjee » 20 Jun 2011 17:57

At the end of the day- I just want to point out that armies in every human society have been mainly built on male kin networks and male hierarchies. Simply proclaiming feminist fantasies on paper does not really change how this operates, nor should it for that matter. By writing on a piece of paper "man and woman are purely interchangeable parts", does not make it so. Equality in general society, is not the same as "interchangeable".

This is a reality of evolutionary biology. Even chimanzee male tribal bands conduct war (and hunt)- not the females. In the heat of battle- human beings are under immense, incredible stress, especially now. At that time, you depend on the men around you as an incredibly tight-knit bonded group. That is not the time to be talking about "abstract rights written on pieces of paper". The institution has to accommodate how soldiers behave, not the other way around.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 20 Jun 2011 18:32

Rahul M wrote:whichever you put it, the number of women soldiers who would clear the minimum physical requirement for combat troops AND want to serve is miniscule. from simple statistical considerations the army has no reason to go out of its way to accommodate a handful of soldiers at high cost and potential cohesion problems, the rewards are not worth the effort.

In a land with 1.2 billion people, I don't think it is that miniscule.

Rahul M wrote:in a modern army, 1 out of ten soldiers perform combat duty on the frontline and the rest 9 support him. it's a bit higher for IA but the point stands. 90% of the jobs in the forces are open to women or will be in the near future, why is that not enough. I am not sure why only the 10% would be considered as contributing meaningfully and not the rest 90% who constitute the bulk of the military?

If those 90% job opportunities are sufficient to break through the glass ceiling, then it is okay. If not we need to rethink about it. Would the women be able to rise to become Generals, Admirals, or Air Chief Marshals?

Rahul M wrote:given the state of our society, arguing beyond this seems like intellectual masturbation to me. as a matter of fact, even in supposedly more liberal societies than ours, like the US, women officers face a very big problem of insubordination.

Society changes with time. Prime institutions can be at the forefront of those changes, sometimes driving those changes.

Rahul M wrote:about the media circus, you are again responding assuming ideal world scenarios, while the reality is that media cares 2 hoots for what army says and relishes every opportunity to screw it. it doesn't even hesitate to crucify them over made up charges.
why don't you change that first before you ask the forces to sacrifice themselves on your altar of ideological perfection ?

In peace times, this may even be acceptable. In times of war, any media outlet which goes against the official line would be walking on thin ice. Even the people would not tolerate such rubbish.

Rahul M wrote:
Lalmohan wrote:rural women are also quite fit, i am sure they have can very good endurance given some sustained proper nutrition (that the army can provide) - apart from lifting big loads, i think they will be quite physically capable of running, climbing and working long hours
women from this group are already getting inducted in BSF and CRPF. which is excellent because there the problems with serving in frontline army combat groups does not arise.

Indian rural women are very very hardy. They are hardy despite not having the right nutrition. If their nutrition can be improved, one would see the change.

There is not much more I can add to the discussion being naive in matters military. Thanks to all who participated.

Karan M
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15811
Joined: 19 Mar 2010 00:58

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Karan M » 22 Jun 2011 02:54

Rajesh ji,

With due respect, you have not understood the basics of the argument at hand, that most of Indian women are physically unable to face the rigors of life in the Indian Armed services. Instead, you bring up the thought that by not relaxing its standards the Army may lose out on a budding Napoleon... without realizing the point I was making that if women are considered discriminated against because of this, so are otherwise healthy men, who for the sake of some physical injury or even relatively minor "defect" are not upto Indian service standards. The Armed services make rules keeping the larger percentile in mind, the same manner in which most equipment is designed for the average recruit not all recruits. Since you seem to hold store by what Mrinal Suman says, here is what he says about the induction of women, from a Print copy published earlier this year.

Mrinal Suman wrote:Induction of women
In the early 1990s, when the euphoria over induction of
women was still going strong, a group of Junior
Commissioned Officers (JCOs) was overheard discussing the
issue in all seriousness. The oldest remarked, “The Army has
enough problems at hand. I do not know why another one is
being sought.” Another declared, “The Army is going to rue
its decision in the near future.” There was a rare unanimity in
the group – they were all convinced that the move to induct
women was ill-conceived and unwarranted.
The events of the past few years have proved their apprehensions
to be prophetic. The JCOs foresaw what the top
brass failed to.
Instead of earning kudos for giving women a
chance, the services are getting flak from the judiciary, media
and self-appointed experts. Demands are being made to grant
permanent commission to women in the combat arms, a
demand that is unprecedented in any army. Worse, some
have gone to the ridiculous extent of demanding all-women
battalions. A matter that critically affects the health of the services
has been belittled as one of “equality of sexes”.
The decision to induct women, taken in the early 1990s by
a service Chief, was neither need-based nor well thought-out.
No attempt was made to study the long-term implications of
the multiple issues involved. In other words, a decision of
colossal significance was taken in a totally cavalier and hasty
manner. The first batch of women Short Service Commission
(SSC) officers joined in 1992. As the other two services did
not want to be seen as “male chauvinists”, they followed suit.
Soon a race got underway between the three services.
Till date, no one has been able to justify the decision to
induct women in the services. The low-tech Indian military is
totally dependent on the raw physical strength of its manpower.
With their abysmally poor physical fitness standards,
women just cannot perform these tasks. Moreover, they suffer
from frequent back problems, pelvic injuries and stress
fractures. As very few desk jobs are available, most commanders are at a loss to employ them gainfully.
Instead of contributing to the effectiveness of the organization,
women have become an encumbrance as considerable
resources are diverted towards ensuring their comfort, dignity
and safety. Worse, every commander runs the risk of being
accused of sexual discrimination, harassment and even
exploitation. It is no wonder that no commander wants
women as they are considered a liability.

The SSC tenure was five years, extendable to 10 years. It
has since been increased to 14 years. One does not need to
be a visionary to understand that grant of SSC to women at
24 years of age is the most impractical proposition. That is
the time for them to get married and raise their families.
With two-child norms, they spend most of their service
tenure involved with their children. For every delivery they
are exempted physical activities for three years. A woman
SSC officer is hardly ever available for military activities.
Champions of sexual equality are very selective in their
demand. No demand has ever been made to induct women
as soldiers. Women want to join only as officers, in the erroneous
belief that an officer’s job is soft and easy. When reality
dawns on them, they resort to the standard ploy of the
weaker sex needing special dispensation. As regards their
acceptability as leaders, the troops consider their induction
to be a political gimmick that merits no serious deliberation.
“How can a leader, who is unable to carry her personal
weapon and equipment and keep pace with us, be expected
to lead us in war?” is a common refrain of the troops.


You say that rural women are hardy. With all due respect, rural men find it tough to meet Indian Army standards. Army life is brutal on the body. Tankers have knee problems. Some have heat burns due to having touched hot metal. Artillery men are often hard of hearing. Infantry men have several injuries after a decade of service. For the AF, while peacetime locations may seem cushy, please note some who deployed to frontline bases with minimal infrastructure in the summer when conflict loomed. They lost several kilos in weight and even so, were expected to be in top shape for war anytime. It takes crores to train a fighter pilot, and crores thereafter to retain proficiency. Pilots are regularly evaluated for the same. Do you think the AF can give even a few months let alone a year off to a fighter pilot who wants to raise a family? Pilots pull high G's - any bleeding/physical weakness is a strict no no. You are off flight operations. Now consider the gender issue in this respect. Again, most combat arms in the Army, AF have issues when it comes to physical requirements. Perhaps the only service which can afford some, not all leeway for women is the Navy, which can earmark some space on its frontline ships for women in particular, and who can be given jobs which are not as dependent on brawn & brains, both being essential. Even so, being submariners, Marcos, naval infantry etc is not going to be possible. As can be seen in Mrinal Suman's rather excoriating statements, even the current induction of women officers is not highly regarded by the brass. He may not be infallible, but at least in this case, the facts he mentions regarding brawn and physical issues bear themselves out.

I hope you understand the issue, that its not a case of ideology or doing the right thing for sake of an ideal but one of sheer practicality. If we are not practical, we will lose conflicts.

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 22 Jun 2011 03:14

Karan M ji,

thank you for taking the time to make me understand.

Just a comment:
Mrinal Suman wrote:For every delivery they are exempted physical activities for three years.

I find three years a bit long. It should be a maximum of 20 months - 8 months pregnancy, 12 months baby-care, followed by either day care or grand-parents for babies.

ks_sachin
BRFite
Posts: 733
Joined: 24 Jun 2000 11:31
Location: Sydney

Re: Women in Combat

Postby ks_sachin » 22 Jun 2011 05:54

RajeshA wrote:Karan M ji,

thank you for taking the time to make me understand.

Just a comment:
Mrinal Suman wrote:For every delivery they are exempted physical activities for three years.

I find three years a bit long. It should be a maximum of 20 months - 8 months pregnancy, 12 months baby-care, followed by either day care or grand-parents for babies.



Crikey Rajesh,

20 months or three years or even five months - does not matter. Try and get the point Karan is making.

The reality is YO's find it difficult to find a bride (esp in the Inf) so I dare say many women would not like to sit in a t-72 in Jaisalmer or sit in a picket on the Tibetean plateau at 17,000 ft adjacent to the Tibetean Plateau - where you get sunburn despite the extreme cold...

Now I am not saying that they are not capable - what I am saying is that women have to be prepared to do go through the hell the Sepoy goes through and they may not be prepared for that.

And baby care or grand parents....I would urge you to visit some of the so called family stations and see for yourself the hardiness that is required to live there....

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Women in Combat

Postby RajeshA » 22 Jun 2011 10:41

ks_sachin wrote:
RajeshA wrote:Karan M ji,

thank you for taking the time to make me understand.

Just a comment:

Mrinal Suman wrote:For every delivery they are exempted physical activities for three years.

RajeshA wrote:I find three years a bit long. It should be a maximum of 20 months - 8 months pregnancy, 12 months baby-care, followed by either day care or grand-parents for babies.



Crikey Rajesh,

20 months or three years or even five months - does not matter. Try and get the point Karan is making.

ks_sachin ji,

I already did!

ks_sachin wrote:The reality is YO's find it difficult to find a bride (esp in the Inf) so I dare say many women would not like to sit in a t-72 in Jaisalmer or sit in a picket on the Tibetean plateau at 17,000 ft adjacent to the Tibetean Plateau - where you get sunburn despite the extreme cold...

Now I am not saying that they are not capable - what I am saying is that women have to be prepared to do go through the hell the Sepoy goes through and they may not be prepared for that.

My point was that whether they are prepared or not can be determined by
  • their expressed willingness to undertake what is required of the soldier;
  • a training which puts equal demands on women as it does on men
  • regular assessments.

The determination need not be made in a general way, and women who are interested and if I may say, a minority of women, who can prove their toughness, should be allowed to apply. If they don't fulfill the requirements, then you don't take them, and if they do, one tries to accommodate them.

I was advocating both principles: Equality of Opportunity as well as By Merit Only.

ks_sachin wrote:And baby care or grand parents....I would urge you to visit some of the so called family stations and see for yourself the hardiness that is required to live there....


I believe you!

chetak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 17885
Joined: 16 May 2008 12:00

Re: Women in Combat

Postby chetak » 22 Jun 2011 11:06

Karan M wrote:Rajesh ji,

With due respect, you have not understood the basics of the argument at hand, that most of Indian women are physically unable to face the rigors of life in the Indian Armed services. Instead, you bring up the thought that by not relaxing its standards the Army may lose out on a budding Napoleon... without realizing the point I was making that if women are considered discriminated against because of this, so are otherwise healthy men, who for the sake of some physical injury or even relatively minor "defect" are not upto Indian service standards. The Armed services make rules keeping the larger percentile in mind, the same manner in which most equipment is designed for the average recruit not all recruits. Since you seem to hold store by what Mrinal Suman says, here is what he says about the induction of women, from a Print copy published earlier this year.

Mrinal Suman wrote:Induction of women
In the early 1990s, when the euphoria over induction of
women was still going strong, a group of Junior
Commissioned Officers (JCOs) was overheard discussing the
issue in all seriousness. The oldest remarked, “The Army has
enough problems at hand. I do not know why another one is
being sought.” Another declared, “The Army is going to rue
its decision in the near future.” There was a rare unanimity in
the group – they were all convinced that the move to induct
women was ill-conceived and unwarranted.
The events of the past few years have proved their apprehensions
to be prophetic. The JCOs foresaw what the top
brass failed to.
Instead of earning kudos for giving women a
chance, the services are getting flak from the judiciary, media
and self-appointed experts. Demands are being made to grant
permanent commission to women in the combat arms, a
demand that is unprecedented in any army. Worse, some
have gone to the ridiculous extent of demanding all-women
battalions. A matter that critically affects the health of the services
has been belittled as one of “equality of sexes”.
The decision to induct women, taken in the early 1990s by
a service Chief, was neither need-based nor well thought-out.
No attempt was made to study the long-term implications of
the multiple issues involved. In other words, a decision of
colossal significance was taken in a totally cavalier and hasty
manner. The first batch of women Short Service Commission
(SSC) officers joined in 1992. As the other two services did
not want to be seen as “male chauvinists”, they followed suit.
Soon a race got underway between the three services.
Till date, no one has been able to justify the decision to
induct women in the services. The low-tech Indian military is
totally dependent on the raw physical strength of its manpower.
With their abysmally poor physical fitness standards,
women just cannot perform these tasks. Moreover, they suffer
from frequent back problems, pelvic injuries and stress
fractures. As very few desk jobs are available, most commanders are at a loss to employ them gainfully.
Instead of contributing to the effectiveness of the organization,
women have become an encumbrance as considerable
resources are diverted towards ensuring their comfort, dignity
and safety. Worse, every commander runs the risk of being
accused of sexual discrimination, harassment and even
exploitation. It is no wonder that no commander wants
women as they are considered a liability.

The SSC tenure was five years, extendable to 10 years. It
has since been increased to 14 years. One does not need to
be a visionary to understand that grant of SSC to women at
24 years of age is the most impractical proposition. That is
the time for them to get married and raise their families.
With two-child norms, they spend most of their service
tenure involved with their children. For every delivery they
are exempted physical activities for three years. A woman
SSC officer is hardly ever available for military activities.
Champions of sexual equality are very selective in their
demand. No demand has ever been made to induct women
as soldiers. Women want to join only as officers, in the erroneous
belief that an officer’s job is soft and easy. When reality
dawns on them, they resort to the standard ploy of the
weaker sex needing special dispensation. As regards their
acceptability as leaders, the troops consider their induction
to be a political gimmick that merits no serious deliberation.
“How can a leader, who is unable to carry her personal
weapon and equipment and keep pace with us, be expected
to lead us in war?” is a common refrain of the troops.


You say that rural women are hardy. With all due respect, rural men find it tough to meet Indian Army standards. Army life is brutal on the body. Tankers have knee problems. Some have heat burns due to having touched hot metal. Artillery men are often hard of hearing. Infantry men have several injuries after a decade of service. For the AF, while peacetime locations may seem cushy, please note some who deployed to frontline bases with minimal infrastructure in the summer when conflict loomed. They lost several kilos in weight and even so, were expected to be in top shape for war anytime. It takes crores to train a fighter pilot, and crores thereafter to retain proficiency. Pilots are regularly evaluated for the same. Do you think the AF can give even a few months let alone a year off to a fighter pilot who wants to raise a family? Pilots pull high G's - any bleeding/physical weakness is a strict no no. You are off flight operations. Now consider the gender issue in this respect. Again, most combat arms in the Army, AF have issues when it comes to physical requirements. Perhaps the only service which can afford some, not all leeway for women is the Navy, which can earmark some space on its frontline ships for women in particular, and who can be given jobs which are not as dependent on brawn & brains, both being essential. Even so, being submariners, Marcos, naval infantry etc is not going to be possible. As can be seen in Mrinal Suman's rather excoriating statements, even the current induction of women officers is not highly regarded by the brass. He may not be infallible, but at least in this case, the facts he mentions regarding brawn and physical issues bear themselves out.

I hope you understand the issue, that its not a case of ideology or doing the right thing for sake of an ideal but one of sheer practicality. If we are not practical, we will lose conflicts.


The driving force was one single rabid "women's libber" type service chief's wife who no body had the guts to oppose.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35041
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 22 Jun 2011 15:17

Karan M wrote:You say that rural women are hardy.


Karan its no use breaking your head on this thread when guesswork can be used to make statements. The idea that "Rural women are hardy" is exactly a belief that will set up cognitive dissonance and denial if the truth is stated. Over 50% of rural woman in India are anaemic. The figure is over 80% in some studies. Because rural lifestyles have less access to healthcare and because girls have a lower status in India the nutritional status of rural woman is, on average worse than it should be and certainly worse than the urban figure. Indians who face hardship in life live like cattle or donkeys. They are alive and they have to survive. So they are "hardy". Not because they are healthy.

The sort of arguments I am hearing on this thread are:

India has 1 billion. 600 million are rural. 300 million are women. 50% are anaemic. So India is left with 150 million non anemic women for the army. You are never going to be able to stay within reality when rhetoric and clever arguments take precedence over facts. I resisted entering this thread for 2 days for this reason.

When you are sick you can ask your tailor or your postman. But you can go to a doctor instead if that is your wish. Whom you trust is up to you. I have read a lot of military opinions on women in the armed forces - written by senior armed forces people who have sisters and daughters and who are not all MCPs. I would prefer to listen to what the designated experts say. If someone wants to know facts and asks me - I have to decline because i am not the designated expert and I have to sit around arguing against rhetoric merely for parroting what i have read. Silence is the best answer. Anyone who really wants to know can consult Google. Unless you are the expert (and even if you are the expert) every word you utter will have a counter argument or calculation to show how there is some loophole. if you enjoy that, fine. Sorry to have interrupted.

Viv S
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5305
Joined: 03 Jan 2010 00:46

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Viv S » 22 Jun 2011 17:37

If I may chip in here - I think the physical challenge can often be overstated. The average female cadet graduating from OTA is in far better shape than the bulk of the army's (considerably older) JCOs and that edge continues for a bit. The stress is on endurance not strength and a female applying to this heavily male dominated profession is probably a good bit tougher both mentally and physically than the average woman.

All fine so far.

Trouble is, while the difference in the physical abilities between the men and women could have been overlooked so far, this gap will start to widen with time. Sure the women can train harder and keep up but this comes at the risk of not inconsequential injuries. Which is why 5-7 years of service is fine but in the best interests of the army and self, the female officers should thereafter be posted back to peace areas in staff or technical duties. And there has to be a total ban on pregnancies during service enforced by the penalty of a dishonorable discharge. An officer being unavailable for 1.5-2 years per child isn't something the army can afford.


Regarding combat and women in the ranks - culturally the country is not at a stage where equality or fairness can be enforced in most civilian spheres, let alone a testosterone soaked environment like the army. Maybe in future but certainly not today. In addition to a degree of (lets be honest) contempt or condescension felt by the soldiers, there is also the fact that the well-being of a female soldier or officer in combat will not be treated at par with their male colleagues. While they may accept a male casualty in combat with a stiff upper lip, a female officer or soldier hurt will be taken personally instead of rationally (funnily this is illustrated in BRF's 'Scenarios' thread).

This works both ways. An enemy unit/sub-unit outflanked, outnumbered, depleted or otherwise facing insurmountable odds may stoically accept an offer for an honorable surrender, right upto the point where they realise that the opposing force includes women - then they'll fight to the death. Stupid? Irrational? Perhaps so, but that's the way it is and unnecessary attrition isn't something any commander looks forward to.
Last edited by Viv S on 22 Jun 2011 17:47, edited 1 time in total.

rohitvats
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 7571
Joined: 08 Sep 2005 18:24
Location: Jatland

Re: Women in Combat

Postby rohitvats » 22 Jun 2011 17:47

Viv S wrote:
If I may chip in here - I think the physical challenge can often be overstated. The average female cadet graduating from OTA is in far better shape than the bulk of the army's (considerably older) JCOs and that edge will continues for a little bit. The stress is on endurance not strength and the a female applying to this heavily male dominated profession is probably a good bit tougher both mentally and physically than an average woman.


Wrong comparison. The Lady Officer at that point in time is there to do the job of an equivalent Male officer and hence, any comparison with a senior JCO is redundant. She is not there to do the job of a JCO.

Which is why 5-7 years of service is fine but in the best interests of the army and self, the female officers should ideally be posted back to peace areas in staff or technical duties.


And therein lies the cache. All the officers need to be rotated between field and desk jobs. If it is only women which are posted to desk jobs on certain grounds (and mind you, this is fairly common and something IA is forced to do), what happens to their male collegues? Why should women have disproportionate peace posting/desk jobs and why do men have to suffer just to ensure that women officers can mange their stay in uniform? What effect will it have on male officers-both psycological and from operational perspective?

On all the preachy stuff about equality, the first thing to fly out of the window is equality itself when applied to women.

As someone said, "You cannot have priviledges of a man and prerogatives of a woman at the same time"

Viv S
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5305
Joined: 03 Jan 2010 00:46

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Viv S » 22 Jun 2011 18:04

rohitvats wrote:Wrong comparison. The Lady Officer at that point in time is there to do the job of an equivalent Male officer and hence, any comparison with a senior JCO is redundant. She is not there to do the job of a JCO.


It was intended to be an illustration not a comparison. The idea being conveyed was that at least the younger lot among the female officers are not physically hampered while discharging their duties in the field.

And therein lies the cache. All the officers need to be rotated between field and desk jobs. If it is only women which are posted to desk jobs on certain grounds (and mind you, this is fairly common and something IA is forced to do), what happens to their male collegues? Why should women have disproportionate peace posting/desk jobs and why do men have to suffer just to ensure that women officers can mange their stay in uniform? What effect will it have on male officers-both psycological and from operational perspective?


Its 5-7 years of field postings and another 3-7 years of desk jobs. I'm sure their male colleagues can live with that. SSC officers are hardly there to make a career. If the same female officers were permitted to continue service and rise towards senior positions it would be a different matter altogether.

On all the preachy stuff about equality, the first thing to fly out of the window is equality itself when applied to women.

As someone said, "You cannot have priviledges of a man and prerogatives of a woman at the same time"


The army isn't a fair place and any woman joining it and expecting it to be so, has only her naiveté to blame.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35041
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 22 Jun 2011 18:30

Having followed this series of threads from day 1 with some interest, I would like to post some comments - first on the topic itself and then on what the impressions I have gained about the subject of women in the military and women in combat. Will try and keep it brief.

This is an emotive topic and every few months someone indignantly comes on this thread making the claim that women are being discriminated and prevented from joining the military as equals. Any attempt by anyone to mollify the said person is usually greeted with the attitude that anything anybody says in reply to "Women are being discriminated" is an indicator of bias, so it always ends up in a frustrating set of repeated arguments.

What I have learned about the subject is that there has historically been a bias with regard to letting women fight in western style armies. But nations (or groups) that have fought desperate wars such as Russia in WW2 and Vietnam have had many frontline women fighters.

Clearly it is not as if women cannot fight or are not ready to fight. The relative absence of women has been more of a social issue where women have not traditionally been considered for the role. This has had an effect downstream in armies because the Infrstructure for women has not been created or has just not existed and a system to take in women does not exist.

Infrastructure for women is not just living quarters and toilets. The downstream effects are seen in various areas. The physical strength demands for certain actions (steering wheels of un powered steering vehicles and even older aircraft)have been designed without even thinking about women. Ergonomic factors like the width of the grip on a joystick and whether the thumb will reach a particular switch or button on the joystick or whether a pilot can reach out and touch a switch have not traditionally been designed keeping women in mind. they have merely been designed for men who fit into the 10th to 90th percentile range ignoring the fact that very few women can physically match those standards. This is discrimination by default. Another factor was the acceleration of the ejection seat when a lighter than average human ejects from one. This again was never designed with women in mind. The same ergonomic and physical capability issues hold true for traning aids and techniques. None of these are insurmountable problems - but if you decide to let women in on January 1st of say year X, it may still be 20 years before all the equipment and infrastructure can be modified to be equally suitable for women and men simply because some of the newer items cannot be discarded right away and women will have to wait till newer unisex equipment is designed and brought in as replacement. That is only my guesstimate and not a policy decision by me on which I am willing to answer questions.

So beyond the social bias against women are infrastructural hurdles that prevent a sudden and comprehensive induction of women into every area. It is happening, but it will be slow. All this can be done and is being done in many armed forces including the Indian armed forces. How fast it is happening seems to be a factor of "brakes" and obstacles within the system

As regards women in cutting edge combat - like mixed men+women patrols, I don't think India has any yet. Whether women will really get into that area depends on a lot of factors which will include the development of infrastructure to support women in the training areas so they train with men who will be their buddies in combat. At least part of the issue will rest on what the actual men feel about having women. As an English speaking elite of India I may wish for my daughter to have equal opportunities - but the men in the infantry too will have opinions and views. I don't know the current status of thinking at that level.

The experience of other armed forces can be taken into account. I don't know if India has consulted Vietnam or Russia, but research papers do exist on what was done in these countries.The US has had some discipline issues after mixing men with women. Apparently there are reproductive health issues with putting women on submarines. The US has also had a gerater than desirable rate of pregnancies in women on submarines in a situation where the sub is on patrol for months and cannot just resurface for that reason. Links to all this exist elsewhere in this thread IIRC.

None of this information is "mine" other than impressions I have gained by reading on and off this thread. For that reason I may not necessarily answer any questions put to me about what i have said but if someone knows different from me I will be glad to learn.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 12964
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Lalmohan » 22 Jun 2011 19:24

i think at this stage, indian society is not as yet up to speed with the indian constitution
and until it is, it will be difficult for indian society to accept women in equal roles in the armed forces
india is a multi-speed country and society, in this case the speed has a long way to go before it can be deemed equal

Abhibhushan
BRFite
Posts: 180
Joined: 28 Sep 2005 20:56
Location: Chennai

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Abhibhushan » 22 Jun 2011 22:15

A wonderful thread full of wisdom. I fully agree with the posters who want to let our women participate in warlike activities on equal footing with the menfolk. If some special housing/toilet facilities/leave regulations are required for it so be it. It can all be done if there is a will.

While the incompetent top brass of the three services struggle the these simple organisational matters, let us throw the doors of our nation field sports teams like football hockey kabaddy tennis table-tennis, squash, cricket, volleyball and golf to women of promise. I am sure there are feminine Kapildevs Dhyan Chands and Baichung Bhutias just waiting to be let into the teams. Let us also appeal to the international Olympic Committee to do away with the current sexual segregation for track events. I am sure there are female sprinters who could match the male sprintes of the world?

Let us go for it.

rohitvats
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 7571
Joined: 08 Sep 2005 18:24
Location: Jatland

Re: Women in Combat

Postby rohitvats » 22 Jun 2011 22:43

Viv S wrote: It was intended to be an illustration not a comparison. The idea being conveyed was that at least the younger lot among the female officers are not physically hampered while discharging their duties in the field.


And how do you know that? If the IA uses watered down physical standards (as compared to male colleague) to facilitate not only intake but during the training of Lady Cadets as well, how does the Lady Officer suddenly become fit to discharge same set of duties requiring the physical standard her Male Officer is expected to have?

Its 5-7 years of field postings and another 3-7 years of desk jobs. I'm sure their male colleagues can live with that. SSC officers are hardly there to make a career. If the same female officers were permitted to continue service and rise towards senior positions it would be a different matter altogether.


The cavalier manner in which you've made the field posting versus desk job remark goes on to show how much you understand the topic of posting. It is not only desk job versus field posting, it is also peace time posting versus field postings. An officer (and regiments/battalions for that matter) are rotated between field and peace time locations. Which is not only important in terms of personal life of soldiers and officers but also in terms of training and related stuff.

As for the desk job, it is not being a file pusher. There are various grades of Staff posting - and can be field location as well. The job of a Brigade Major (BM) of a Infantry Brigade in Siachen is also a desk job-but in a field location. The point is, rotation of an officer between field-peace-desk job is part of his growth and learning curve. You cannot deny the same to male officers to accomodate female officers.

negi
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 12918
Joined: 27 Jul 2006 17:51
Location: Trying to mellow down :)

Re: Women in Combat

Postby negi » 22 Jun 2011 23:26

I find it amusing that simple things are being made so complicated ; have same set of selection process for men and women in armed forces and then one can have as many women in SF, MARCOS or even as fighter pilots.

Rakesh
Forum Moderator
Posts: 6199
Joined: 15 Jan 2004 12:31
Location: Planet Earth
Contact:

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rakesh » 23 Jun 2011 00:01

For all the posters who are looking for equal rights for women in the armed forces, please consider the following;

- If women join the infantry (or any other combat arm) and they became POWs in a future conflict, do you really think they will be coddled just because they are women? We are dealing with an enemy that will show no quarter and displays no form of human decency whatsoever. Are they willing to risk being raped or being tortured? Perhaps we should have a personal protection force for every woman that serves in a combat zone to avoid such a scenario. Now that would be fantastic!

- It was the wives of US Navy submariners that were vehemently against women joining the submarine force. They just could not trust their husbands or boyfriends who were 3+ months under the water. Take a wild guess as to why. You know what they say about submariners though...100 sailors go down and 50 couples come up :)

There are some fields of the military that are just not pratical for women to be in. GI Jane sounds good in movies, but reality is different. I am all for equal integration, but only where it serves pratical value.

Imagine if it was Savitri Kalia that was brutally tortured instead of Lt Saurabh Kalia.

-----------------------------------

rohitvats: OT...Do SSC officers have an option to become permanently commissioned officers once their tenure as a SSC officer is complete? I thought they did, but I am not sure.

Gaur
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2013
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 23:19

Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gaur » 23 Jun 2011 00:16

Rakesh wrote:rohitvats: OT...Do SSC officers have an option to become permanently commissioned officers once their tenure as a SSC officer is complete? I thought they did, but I am not sure.

Yes they do. After their tenure of 10 yrs (extensible to 14yrs), they have the option to apply for PC.


Return to “Military Issues & History Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Austin, L Ram and 61 guests