Expert GD Moderators Group Discussion

Can Women be in Combat Roles?

A really strong woman accepts the war, she went through and is ennobled by her scars."

Combat roles are defined in different ways, but they essentially refer to those roles which involve engaging in a fight with a person or a group of people physically or through specialized equipment. In India, the idea of women in combat roles is romanticized through many movies and TV series, but this concept stays foreign when it comes to real life. In the 1.4-million-strong Indian Army, women constitute a minuscule 0.56%, while the corresponding figure is 1.08% in the Air Force and 6.5% in the Navy.

While many people say that they are not against the idea of women moving into combat roles, at the same time they give several reasons as to why it would be impractical. Among the many reasons, the most repeated ones are the psychological and physical fitness limitations, the inability to view women in leadership roles, vulnerability to sexual harassment by fellow officers, and the lack of infrastructure.

In actuality, none of these problems are the fault of women. All of these issues can be counterargued easily. The physical and psychological fitness requirements can be filled by proper training. Inability to accept women in leadership roles and sexual harassment are the issues faced by women in every profession. As for the infrastructure, there is a need for better infrastructure at combat locations for all the officers and not just women.

In the end, all these objections are caused by the patriarchal mindset and therefore the unwillingness of men to accept women just as capable as themselves.

Author - Ishita Luthra 

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