India’s top court ruled on Monday that women could serve as army commanders, dismissing the government’s stance that male soldiers were not ready to accept orders from female officers as “disturbing”.
The Supreme Court also ordered the government to extend permanent service – which has only been applicable to men so far – to all women officers, signalling a move towards gender parity in the traditionally male bastion.
With this women will get the same opportunities and benefits as their male colleagues, including ranks, promotions and pensions and be allowed to serve longer tenures.
Currently, women are inducted through a short-service commission that lets them work for up to 14 years and only allowed permanent commission in the army’s legal and educational wings.
“To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army,” judges said in their ruling.