Readers tell us whether women are suitable for direct combat role

DailyBiteJan 14, 2017 | 16:11

Readers tell us whether women are suitable for direct combat role

Army chief General Bipin Rawat says it's up to women to decide if they are willing to join men in a frontline combat role without separate and additional facilities. He listed out logistical “difficulties” such as sleeping under the tank and the fact that there are no toilet facilities when out on patrol.

While women are inducted into the corps of engineers and signals, they have been left out of the infantry, armoured corps and mechanised infantry.

The debate whether women are suitable for direct combat role has been raging on for quite some time now. Many strongly believe that notwithstanding the differences between men and women both should be given equal chance in leadership and other roles. But many others argue that one cannot ignore the physical and emotional differences between a man and a woman.

Women have been left out of combat role mainly based on arguments like they aren't strong enough. [Photo: Reuters]

When now outgoing US defence secretary Ash Carter announced in 2015 that the military would open all combat jobs — from the infantry to special-operations forces — to women, similar arguments were raised against the move.

Women have been left out of combat role mainly based on arguments like they aren't strong enough and can’t meet the same physical standards as men. Many others are concerned whether women can handle the mental strain of combat, especially when it comes to children. Concerns have also been raised whether a woman soldier will be ready to kill a child insurgent fighter.

But the biggest of all worries has been the menstrual cycle of women and toilets for them. While menstrual hygiene is a major challenge in India even when we are not talking about combat roles, women officers often point out that there are several options such as suspension of menses with the help of oral medicines, which are easily available in the market.

In the US, female officers also point out that there are even funnels designed to allow women to urinate standing up.

While more than a dozen countries already have their women in combat roles, removing gender barriers from the military has often faced opposition from both within the ranks as well as the society in general.

Well, it seems India still has a long way to go for combat roles not to remain male-only territory. When we asked our readers for their views, this is what they had to say. Read on.

Photo: Screengrab

DailyO readers weigh in

Syed Adil: No, I don't. Women are made differently and can be tasked to manage the equally important second line of defence such as medical, army welfare and logistic support.

Krishna Malik: With their strong focus and observation skills I think women can make great artillery officers and crew, firepower for women power!

Mani Arasan: Just my opinion. I don’t agree. The body of a man and a woman are different.

The mindset of men and women are different. Hence, the role for the women should be analysed properly. It should be in such a way that women feel encouraged to come and work for their respective nations. It should also be discussed with them beforehand for their consensus.

Rahul Sharma: Yes, they should be treated on a par with men. If they need to ensure gender equality then definitely treat both the genders equally without any discrimination.

Sudeep Bhatt: Yes, they should do same task, it will reduce militancy and other attacks as some men would never want to get killed at the hands of women.

Mohit Mohan Kapoor: Frontline combat role is not for everyone, be it a man or a woman. The best option would be to leave it to the women who want to serve out there.

Sumit Thakur: Only women can take a call whether they are ready for combat roles in such tough circumstances.

Satish Kumar: Yes, Of course. they can handle all things just like men, or can we say, better than men.

Last updated: January 14, 2017 | 16:11
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