FEATURE: THE HINDU/WOMEN IN THE ARMY


Online edition of India's National Newspaper

Education Plus KeralaPublished on Tuesdays



They excel in the army too


There are about 600 women in the Army, 420 in the Air Force and about 100 in the Navy.
INCREASINGLY, WOMEN are viewing the armed forces as a good career choice. The attractions are varied. It could be that they have father, brothers or other male kin in the armed forces. It could be that the women fancy themselves in olive green, managing up to 700 troops at any given point of time. The respect soldiers deserve and effortlessly command could be another factor.

Whatever, the recruitment boards all over the country are recording an increase in the number of women bidding to become officers in the Army, Navy or Air Force. The armed forces put out advertisements twice a year, in March and September, for recruiting unmarried women graduates between 19 and 27 years of age. There is a five-day run of Services Selection Board interviews, followed by a medical examination. Those selected go in for a nine-month training course at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.

Once the women are through with that, the Short Services Commission offers them a 10-year commission, with an optional five-year extension.

Women are usually commissioned into the non-combat wings, which comprise the Army Service Corps, the Army Ordnance Corps, the Corps of Signals, the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the legal wing, the Judge Advocate General (JAG).

There are about 600 women the in the Army, 420 in the Air Force and about 100 in the navy. A large number serve in the Indian Military Nursing Service, as also in the Armed Medical Corps.

Women officers say that the armed forces help develop resource skills, expand ability and endurance limits and instil a keen sense of adventure.

Senior male officers add that the feminine touch greatly benefits the male-dominated forces and that women, with their high degree of sincerity and diligence, make for excellent team players.

The armed forces offer a woman a good life. Furnished accommodation, comprehensive medical cover for the officer and her family, leave travel concession, 60 days annual leave, 20 days casual leave, entitled rations supply, canteen and Officers Mess facilities, membership at the exclusive army clubs dotting the country, insurance cover that could go up to Rs. 10 lakh, transport and other allowances, all make for a very attractive package.

Of course, the limited tenure of service does put some aspirants off. However, many young women see the armed forces as a way to acquire management skills and a stepping-stone to varied career options.

SHEILA KUMAR

http://www.hindu.com/edu/2004/07/26/stories/2004072600080200.htm

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