NEW DELHI: With the Indian Army posting more and more women in challenging jobs, the talks on lack of gender equality in the force have become a thing of the past. Now, several women are posted to even command units. TNIE spoke to three women Army officers on International Women’s Day.
Major Abhilasha Barak was posted in Kashmir valley till last year where counter-insurgency operations are routine. “You be better ready 24/7 and within five minutes you have to be airborne, whether it’s an anti-terror drive or casualty evacuation,” Abhilasha says.
Commissioned into the Army in 2018, Abhilasha became the first woman officer to join the Army Aviation Corps as Combat Aviator in May 2022. She was awarded the coveted wings along with 36 Army pilots. The Haryana girl is the daughter of a retired Army officer. It was the commissioning parade of her elder brother at the Indian Military Academy in 2013 that made her determined to join the service. “That was the moment I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she says.
Captain Shiva Chouhan had hit the headline two months back when she became the first woman officer to get operationally deployed at the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield. Spending even a day on the icy heights tests a person’s nerves and sinews. Shiva was posted at the Kumar post, located at an altitude of around 15,600 feet, for a three-month stint.
“I believe that nowadays women officers are getting adequate opportunities and they are employed equally across, on par with their male counterparts. It’s really a nice initiative that they will be given the commanding roles,” says Shiva, who was commissioned into the force in May 2021, and took up the challenge of leading the Sura Soi Engineer Regiment in Siachen.
If food, water and shelter are available, Captain Deeksha C M, deployed with the elite Parachute Regiment, finds it comfortable. “Yes, there are challenges like menstrual cycles. But with determination and the right resources, women can overcome these challenges and achieve their goal.
The environment in the Indian Army is very positive. All that is required is commitment and devotion to duty,” says Deeksha. Giving women officers the opportunity to command units will attract the girls even more, say the three officers in unison.
“It is a very positive step as a lot of women since childhood dream of donning the Olive Greens. And, it’s so motivating to know that now women officers will be commanding the units which have served this country so well,” says Abhilasha.