Well, 2020 may not be as bad as we feared after all. Despite what has been going on throughout the world since the birth of this decade, women in India are finally getting their due with favourable rulings by the Supreme Court. After the decision by the SC against the government, women in the armed forces will now receive equal benefits and treatment as men. Women in the army had campaigned for this change ever since they began adopting non – medical roles. Though there was a favourable decision in 2010, the government opposed it, and it was never passed.
What Has Changed?
Before this remarkable decision, women were not allowed to serve in military forces as long as men. They could only serve for 10 to 14 years and had no chances of promotion. Only women in the educational and legal wings of the army were allowed permanent service. Hereafter, women will be granted the option of a permanent service and chances to ascend higher in leadership roles and ranking. Women will now receive the same benefits as men; they will have the same pay, pension and promotion opportunities. They will be able to command battalions and head intelligence though they still cannot join combat units.
The government had opposed this move, stating that as most of the men in the army were from rural backgrounds and will not be able to accept a woman commanding them – they might find it very disturbing.
Moreover, men and women did not share the same physical capabilities and hence could not be treated as the equal. Women would have to perform other roles as wife, mother and take responsibility over household duties as well and therefore cannot serve full time.
The court rejected this argument from the government, stating that they are all based on gender discrimination and stereotypical roles. Though most armies in the world employ women, there are just a few of them who allow women on the frontlines for combat roles. Germany, US and Israel are among the few. This is because it is believed that women will not be able to handle the trauma mentally and physically be competent on the front lines.
Birth Of A New Era
I believe that the voices of women in India are finally being heard and their issues are being attended. India was one among the countries in the world where women were under patriarchal constructs, suppression and domination for centuries. Societal and cultural impositions forbade the female from taking part in anything other than her duties as daughter, wife, mother and daughter-in-law. Historical events like world wars and independence movements, brought women out of their homes in not just India, but the world as well.
Ever since, women have been entering and excelling in all domains, even in those which were deemed impossible for women to do; like piloting and political positions. The past few decades have seen women in powerful positions all over the world. But still, women have been struggling to receive equal treatment as men. Times are changing for the better and Indian women are levelling the field with men, step by step.