Image Credit: Hyderabad: Army chief General Bipin Rawat presents the Chief of Air Staff Sword of Honour to Flying Officer Sukhmandeep Singh for standing first in overall merit in Pilot Course at Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal near Hyderabad, Saturday, Dec 15, 2018. (PTI Photo) (PTI12_15_2018_000135B)
“We are expanding the Indian Army to women officers,” an Indian Army Chief stated just weeks after his sexist remarks had many Indian citizens calling for his resignation.
“We are saying, we are going to increase the intake. Women are already there in the Army. We are now going to take them more into some other cadres gradually, we are expanding the Indian Army to women officers,” Army Chief General Bipin Rawat stated according to The Indian Express, shortly after he insulted the women of India.
Scroll.in reported on his interview with Shreya Dhoundial of CNN News 18:
‘”Rawat claimed that women are not ready for combat roles because army men, who largely come from small villages, would not be willing to accept a female commander. He also claimed that women could die in combat, and Indian families are not yet ready to deal with the sight of women’s bodies returning from war zones. Implying that a woman’s primary responsibility is childcare, Rawat said that the army would not be able to give a woman commanding officer six months of maternity leave. He added that there would be a “ruckus” if women were denied that maternity leave.”‘
“She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her,” he would also go on to say in the interview, claiming women in combat roles would complain of men looking at them. Ironically, Rawat did not say anything about anyone ‘peeping’ would be inappropriate workplace behavior and be means for punishment.
“We are saying, we are going to increase the intake. Women are already there in the Army. We are now going to take them more into some other cadres gradually, we are expanding the Indian Army to women officers,” Rawat stated weeks after his sexist remarks, which come after many Indian citizens called for his resignation, calling him an ’embarrassment’ among a slew of other critiques. He later spoke to journalists and addressed the crowd at the combined graduation parade of the Air Force Academy in Dundigal.
There he returned to his previous comments in a public relations attempt to cool some of the criticism:
“We haven’t taken them in frontline combat as of now, because we feel that we are not yet ready for that. While the facilities have to be created in these arms, women will have to be prepared for the hardships… Let us not start comparing ourselves with the western nations. These nations are more open. We have become more open… for example, in big cities, men and women are working together. The people in the Army don’t come from these big cities. They will continue to come from villages, where the kind of intermingling that is expected has not happened.”
“Women were there in the legal and education areas already and the army wanted interpreters, cyber specialists, people in the information warfare domain and in accounts and audit services,” he commented when asked where the increase of women would take place within the Army.
“I am also looking at women jawans [junior officers] in the military police. Women are joining as soldiers in the military police service and then we will see whether there is any scope for expansion later,” he continued.
“As empowered women of our great nation, you all are becoming a member of the prestigious Armed forces which will act as a source of inspiration to others to look up to and emulate. Extending best wishes to the young officers who joined the services, Rawat said, “I am confident that the Air Force will continue to touch the sky with glory always and every time,” he stated while speaking to the graduating cadets.
According to The Indian Express, ‘a total of 139 flight cadets including 24 women officers were commissioned as flying officers,’ during the December 15th ceremony.