Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik recently announced that the Indian Navy has recruited the highest percentage of women officers in the Armed Forces. He said this in a written response to a query in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Indian Navy currently has 704 women officers, compared to 10,108 male officers, bringing the percentage to 6.5 percent.
However, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have employed a paltry 0.56 percent and 1.08 percent of women officers, respectively.
A total of 6,807 women are serving in the Armed Forces as opposed to 12,18,036 men.
"There has been an increase in the number of women personnel in the Armed Forces (excluding medical, dental and nursing cadres) during the year 2020 compared to the figures in the year 2019," he said, as per reports.
Naik further elaborated that the stated percentage of women officers in the IAF excludes women working in its medical and dental wings. IAF’s workforce comprises 1,607 female officers and 1,46,727 male officers. He also said that the total percentage of women in the Navy is also indicative of women officers as the naval forces currently only recruit women at officer ranks.
"In addition to the provision of permanent commission to women officers in Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps, the government of India has recently announced Grant of permanent commission to women officers in all other Arms/services in which they are eligible for commission," Naik said.
He added that the Indian Navy started recruiting women officers in 1992 when only three wings were available to them for employment — law, education, and logistics. However, through the years, many new streams started inducting women, including observers for maritime reconnaissance aircraft, pilots, and avenues in the naval armament inspectorate.
In September last year, two women officers joined as ‘Observers’ (Airborne Tacticians) in the Indian Navy’s helicopter stream for the first time. Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh are the two women airborne tacticians in the naval forces so far. They will be operating from the deck of warships. SLt Kumudini and SLt Riti have joined a group of 17 naval officers who also comprise of four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard, who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at a ceremony held in Kochi last year.
In 2017, a group of the all-women military team had circumnavigated the globe as part of the Navika Sagar Parikrama mission. The crew, led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi and including Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya, and Payal Gupta, underwent intensive three-year training before setting out for the journey. They successfully returned from their endeavor after covering more than 21,600 nautical miles.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)