Gender bias in Indian Navy

Introduction
Gender bias in Indian Navy
  • The Navy allowed women to enlist only in the short service commission category and apply for permanent commission after six years whereas a male officer could be inducted right from the start.
  • Women were offered 14-year temporary service stint after wich they were to retire.
  • The defense forces provided retirement benefits after 20 years of service that women naval officers could not avail.

350 women serving in the Indian Navy

Fact
Information

Women enlisted in 1927 in Indian military services as nurses and medical officers in 1943. They were permitted to join the armed forces on short-service commissions in 1992. Currently, Indian Air Force has 1,350 female officers; the army employs 1300 and navy 350 female officers.

19 officers move to HC seeking permanent tenure

2010
19 officers move to HC seeking permanent tenure
  • Six pleas were filed in HC by women naval officers after a bench provided permanent-commission to women in army asking for the same rules get applied to the Navy.
  • The officers questioned 2008 ruling of the Navy to cede Permanent Commission where officers from the Education, Law and Naval Architecture branches only got permanent term.
  • It did not apply to those retired before 2008.

Indian Army gives permanence to women

Fact
Information

Under the 2010 permanent commission offered to army women officers, they were entitled to service beyond 14 years, after which they were made permanent and could get retirement pension and benefits. Also, they could aspire for posts higher than Lt. Colonel in the army.

Brinda Karat for permanent tenure for women

13 Jun 2012
Brinda Karat for permanent tenure for women
  • Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat wrote to Defence Minister A.K. Antony asking him to intervene and end "discriminatory" employment practices in the Navy for women.
  • She highlighted how the government's resolution of 2008 to allow a permanent commission to women officers of the three services was being executed in the Navy in a selected and biased way.

Countries with women in combat positions

Fact
Similar in countries

Most militaries globally enlist women. However, a few such as Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland permit them to perform active combat roles.

Navy working to let women aboard warships

21 Jan 2015
Navy working to let women aboard warships
  • The Indian Navy said it was keen to devise a policy to commission female officers to serve on warships.
  • Indian Navy commodore BK Munjal commented that authorities were working on that proposal.
  • The new warships would have different provisions and different rooms for lady officers, making way for lady officers to go on board ships.

Women Navy officers to get permanent commissions now

6 Sep 2015
Women Navy officers to get permanent commissions now
  • The Delhi HC gave respite to female Navy officers as they can now "have full-term service in the Indian Navy and enjoy retirement benefits".
  • The court said it frowned "upon any endeavor to block progress of women."
  • Currently, women are banned on ships; this will have to be reviewed.
  • The order came upon hearing six pleas filed by 19 women officers from the navy.

Permanent commission to women in Navy: SC suspends order

20 Nov 2015
Permanent commission to women in Navy: SC suspends order
  • ​SC suspended the Delhi HC order which ordered the Navy to provide permanent commission to all women serving as short-service commission officers.
  • Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told SC that the HC treating this case as a gender discrimation case was erronous.
  • In reality, the Navy did not provide permanent commission to both men and women who are commissioned under the short service category.