On Saturday, the Army Chief of India, General Bipin Rawat gave an interview full of statements on how women are not suited for combat roles.

As a result of which many people took it to Twitter to lash out at him for being ‘sexist’.

And then came the brigade siding with the Army Chief, saying the logistical issues pointed out by him are very practical which is why women shouldn’t be appointed in combat roles as of now.

Should women be employed in combat roles?

The Issue

Before giving my two cents on the issue, here are certain problems pointed out by the army chief:

1. Societal Acceptance

General Rawat pointed out how as a society we are still not ready to accept women in commanding roles. He pulled out figures on how most jawans are from small villages in our country and they do not approve of being commanded by women officers.

Secondly, he talked about a certain operation where a lady in service since 8 years lost her life and her 2 year old is suffering the consequence of it. Rawat said that the army is ready, however, we as a society aren’t ready to see “such bodies which will come back from combat”.

2. Logistical Issues

He talked about how we are aping western culture and demanding women in combat roles, however, we aren’t accepting the culture of how men & women forces change at common locker rooms for gym & training there.

He also talked about the guidelines for protection of women officers in India, as reported in News18:

Now what will happen if there will be a lady officer here. Our orders are that a lady officer will get a hut in the COB, then there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her.

3. Fear of Harassment

Rawat pointed out that he gets thousands of complaints by women officers, even in Delhi, about men peeping at them in these locker rooms. He addressed how in a combat situation, things will get worse when a woman is in isolation with hundreds of jawans.

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4. Maternity Leaves

A: Ok, so now I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion. Can that lady officer be away from her duties for 6 months?

Q. No.
A: Then what happens? Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created.

He then highlighted how combat roles require the woman to be at the border for long period of time and once an officer is in charge, giving leaves to them isn’t easy. In such a situation, maternity break of 6 months is off the charts.

Sexist Or Not?

There is no denying of the fact that the whole idea of combat itself is largely masculine with predominantly male attributes. So, locating women in such a scenario becomes tough.

The combat training and survival on borders itself is custom made to suit men. In an attempt to speak of socialism, we cannot disregard biology and the logistical issue of having women in combat roles.

However, having said that, the Army Chief General Rawat is the face of the army of our country. Sitting at such a post of responsibility, he should have been very careful with framing of his words and in explaining the logistical and societal struggles forces of our country face instead of loosely using words like “we’ll have to cocoon her” & “not granting maternity leaves would create a ruckus”.

What do you think about the issue? Let us know in the comments below.

Picture Credits: Google Images

Source: News18, Scroll, NDTV, +more

Find the blogger: @innoosense

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