Recently, the government told the Supreme Court that women can't be appointed to commanding positions because male troops are not ready to 'accept them'.
The composition of rank and file being male, and predominantly drawn from rural background, with prevailing societal norms, the troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command.
Which is really strange, to be honest. Did the government not see this picture?
That is Captain Tanya Shergill - who became the first woman officer to lead an all-male contingent at the Army Day parade, 2020.
I must say the male troops seem to be 'accepting' her pretty well. Considering that was the argument which was presented.
Shattering the glass ceiling and breaking all stereotypes Capt Tanya Shergill becomes the first woman to command the all men contingent on the 72nd #ArmyDay Parade.With loads of confidence, poise & her head held high she makes India proud. Video @DD_Bharati #ArmyDay2020 @adgpi pic.twitter.com/4CX5cIO2SM— Supriya Sahu IAS (@supriyasahuias) January 15, 2020
The government is indirectly telling the women of the country that they should not do something because men won't accept that.
Who cares if men would accept that or not? Teach them that they have to. A deserving woman will give orders and those under her will follow. She became an Army person to protect the country, not to protect fragile male ego from getting hurt.
It was also said that men and women cannot be treated equally because of 'physiological differences'.
The officers are expected to lead their men from the front and need to be in prime physical condition to undertake combat tasks. Inherent physiological differences between men and women preclude equal physical performance resulting in lower physical standards and hence the physical capacity of women officers remains a challenge for command of units.
Well, women were considered unfit for flying fighter jets until very recently. Turns out, we do that very well.
Below is the picture of Avani Chaturvedi, who at 24 years of age, became the first woman to fly a fighter jet solo.
This argument is a timeless classic, though.
'We are all in support of women's empowerment, but how can they be equal?' Followed by a vague comparison, like: Can a woman physically overpower a man twice her body size?
A. She can. Do all men fighting against each other have similar body types? I think not. This is where the rigorous training comes into play.
B. We have machines, for God's sake.
'But things like menstruation are going to affect her performance.'
Funny how menstruation becomes a differentiating factor according to the male population's convenience.
If you think about it, no one cares about these struggles of women until they are in direct competition with men. Unavailability of sanitary napkins to a large population of girls across the country, being a prime example.
Let us first ensure proper menstrual heath for every woman in India, and then we will discuss why it hinders an Army officer's growth.
Moving over to childbirth (of course), which the government says will be a 'limitation' for the women officials, as the job requires transfers etc.
It is a greater challenge for women officers to meet these hazards of service owing to prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families, especially when both husband and wife happen to be service officers.
Okay, so, let me tell the government a few things about reproduction, since they seem to be lost.
Reproduction is a complex process that results in birth of a human being. Some women want to do it, some women don't to do it (as tough as it is for you to accept).
Those who want to do it, have to go through immense physical and mental changes, including unbearable pain.
This is something men don't have to go through.
So, whose responsibility it should be, to take care of important things in a professional environment, when women are going through pregnancy?
MEN. What part of it do people not understand?
You are telling me that I should overcompensate in my personal and professional life, because I am going through physical pain and changes?
You ever listen to what you're saying?
It is the Army's duty to make a space for women who want to give birth. This is NOT on the woman officials.
In an extension to that argument, I'd like to say the 'domestic obligations' the government is talking about, are straight up sexist. They are assuming a woman is the primary caregiver, which is wrong on so many levels.
What exactly do they mean by saying that it would be tougher for women to perform the duties of an Army person because they have obligations towards the family? Especially if their husbands are also working.
Umm, the child is THEIRS and not HERS. It will be equally tough or easy for both. Why should she take care of the kids while the husband goes and follows his dreams?
And why is the government deciding things on the woman's behalf anyway? The assumption that she would want to stay at home and raise kids is unfair. And why can the man not take care of the kids at house, while the woman goes and fights in the battlefield.
Also, the constant usage of words 'husband' and 'wife' reminds me of people belonging to the LGBTQAI+ community, who don't even have a chance of applying. How we have let them down.
Another crucial concern for the government seems to be, women being taken as prisoners of war, which will put it under 'extreme stress'.
Any soldier being taken as a PoW is a matter of concern, so why are we just talking about women here?
Insinuation is sexual assault. Again, let us try to work things out backwards.
You are suggesting that a woman should give up on her dream of doing something big in the Army because she might be sexually assaulted?
It's not her responsibility to ensure she is safe at all times, while men do what they want to. This is like the age old reasoning that women should not go out in short clothes because they might get raped.
For the millionth time, that is unfair. You fix the goddamn culture, you fix the mentality, do whatever it takes, we don't care. But don't tell us we can't do something because men out there are 'too dangerous'.