These Armed Forces Women Are ‘Breaking Bias’


New Delhi: Indian women’s service in the military dates back to the time when the British ruled India. Under the Ordinance of the “Indian Military Nursing Service”, Indian women served in the army.

During the period 1914–45, British Indian Army nurses fought in World War I (1914–18) and World War II (1939–45). Almost a total of 350 women warriors were killed or missing in action. Some fighters even became prisoners of war.

The woman gained her legal right to be considered for permanent commissions in 2019 before they were only recruited for the Short Service Commission.

However, this implies that India took a long time to accept women in the Armed Forces in combat roles. Prior to this, they were primarily assigned to medical or support roles.

Indian Air Force

Mohana Jitarwal, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth: The trio were inducted into the IAF’s fighter squadron after the central government decided to open the flow of fighters to the force for women. However, the initiative was carried out as an experiment.

The three ladies were the first in the squadron to fly solo in the MIG-21 in 2018.

The three’s desire to serve the country led them to former President Ram Nath Kovind’s ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’.

Indian Navy

India’s first woman pilot is Shubhangi Swaroop, who was inducted into the Indian Navy in 2017. Swaroop is one of three women pilots for maritime reconnaissance (MR) missions in Dornier aircraft from the first batch of the indian navy

But long before Shubhangi, the Inidan Navy had Dr. Barbara Ghosh as its first female officer to attain the rank of Commander. Ghosh was also the first lady medical officer to receive a permanent naval commission.

Paramilitary Forces of India

There is no field where women do not play a role, not even the paramilitary forces. In India’s history, the Indian Coast Guard was the first force to deploy women officers in combat roles.

Assistant Commanders Anuradha Shukla, Sneha Kathayat, Shirin Chandran and Vasundhara Chouksey were the four women officers deployed on board the hovercraft KV Kuber. They were assigned to patrol the Indian maritime zone bordering Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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