In a new win for female officers, the Supreme Court has passed an interim order, allowing women to sit for the National Defence Academy’s (NDA) entrance exam. This allows for more opportunities for women who aspire to be a part of the country’s defence forces. This is indeed a step forward for gender equality, as the notion about the armed forces is highly masculine in nature.
Women were allowed to be a part of the armed forces 30 years ago. Last year, a bench at the top court also passed a judgment allowing women in short service commission to be given a permanent commission. Justices SK Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, this year, said that the prevailing rule was discriminatory on grounds of gender.
The Scope for Women in Military Education
Women could pursue their defence careers through only two of the three ways, i.e. the IMA and the OTA. The NDA serves as a base camp for all future cadets. Upon completing a three year course at the NDA, the candidates will land in their respective academies. Being from the NDA also gives an advantage when it comes to getting into the IMA, over those who enter directly.
The news brings in mixed reactions from ex–defence personnel. Some say that the move will need time, for extra infrastructure and changes to training factors. Others welcomed the order. The bench noted that the Army has expressed their restraint constantly regarding this matter. According to the hearing, the Navy and Air Force are more “forthcoming.”
Though this is a step forward for gender equality, figures regarding female participation in the forces are setting back. Only 0.56% of the personnel in the Army are women. The Navy and Air Force have only 6.5% and 1.08% female staff, respectively. Despite the bench’s argument on why the army is hesitant when it comes to co-education, the masculine domination in the army continues to remain.