Representation of Women in Armed Forces | UPSC Notes

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Women and Security Forces

Recent Developments and Case Study

Representation of Women in Armed Forces
Representation of Women in security Forces
Representation of Women in Armed Forces upsc

  1. Kolkata gets all-women police squad — to make public space safer for women in the State Capital.
  2. PM announced from Red Fort I-Day — permanent commission for all the women officers at par with their male counterparts.
    1. As of now, women are recruited from Short-Service Commission (SSC) for maximum 14 years 
    2. They are deprived of pension (because of less number of years in service)

Army to break a glass ceiling

  • The army is holding consultations for preparing a plan to grant permanent commission to women in its ranks as it become the last military arm to give up resistance to women serving until their age of retirement.
  • As of now, women can only join army as Short Service Commission (SSC) officers — 14 years at max service years — retirement without a pension in mid-30s
  • The Airforce and Navy started recruiting women to permanent commission since 2010. As of now, almost 350 women serve both the forces.
  • Key issues —
    • Practical challenges in deploying women in active areas like Kashmir
    • Logistics requirements to accommodate them in areas that have been built exclusively for men.

Issues and steps taken so far:

Recruitment numbers:

  • Due to the focus of government on women’s empowerment, the three services have taken some steps for expanding the avenues for women.
  • But still recruitment numbers of the past few years are almost at the same level with a decline in women joining the Army.

Combat role:

  • According to the former Defence Minister, the three services would induct women in combat roles in a phased manner as infrastructure had to be created.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has long had women pilots in transport and helicopters streams.
  • Last year IAF has commissioned three women fighter pilots on an experimental basis.
  • The Army has been the most reluctant to take women in combat roles.
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Permanent Commission:

  • The Army has given permanent commission for women only in education, law and medical streams.
  • From 2009, the Navy has opened up seven streams for women for permanent commission.
  • Some of these include law, logistics, air traffic control, education and Naval Armament Instructor (which was only opened this year).


  • The Navy is now taking women as pilots and observers on fixed-wing aircraft.
  • This is the Short Service Commission (SSC) because they cannot be promoted as they cannot do sea service. The women officers are taken under SSC up to 14 years.
  • Therefore, the women are left without any pension as for pension, minimum service should be 20 years. (CHANGED!!)


  • The training imparted to women at the Air Force Academy in Dindigul is not recognised at par with the civil course at the Civil Aviation Training College, Allahabad.
  • So, it is difficult for women to get a second career based on it.