Nations still bar women in combat role but Canada serves as template

Considering the biological differences, and the different social and cultural practices, gender equality in armed forces is not guaranteed by all nations.

Women and their combat roles

Russian Navy does not permit women to serve in combat roles.

The US permitted women to serve in combat roles since 2013.

Canada and Sweden permitted women in combat roles from 1989.

All through history women have served in the armed forces around the world but from World War-I, women have served in greater numbers and in more diverse roles than ever before.



Gender inequality in armed forces

Considering the biological differences, and the different social and cultural practices, gender equality in armed forces is not guaranteed by all nations.

In the Russian Navy, although women cadets undergo the same rigorous training, and get the same military rank, a woman under present rules cannot serve in combat on a battleship.


'Hope things might change in future' 

In Kaliningrad, Russia's baltic enclave, 42 female naval cadets who despite their training, will only be posted on the shore. It's an unfair rule they say but they hope that things might change in the future. 

Alina politika, Kaliningrad naval academy cadet said, "In the future this will happen. If we compare Russia to other foreign states, there are women serving on ships and we know that there are female captains in command in other countries but I think so far, it's not what our country needs." 


Only 16 nations allow women to serve at par with men​​​​​​​

In fact, only 16 nations around the world allow women to serve on par with men but even then, there are certain restrictions on women serving on warships and submarines.

In the US, women legally served in combat roles from 2013.




Mandatory military service for women in Israel

In France, women started in combat roles from 2006, however, there restrictions on them serving in submarines.

In Israel, women were included in combat roles since 1995. There is mandatory military service requirement for women in the country.


Countries with no gender discrimination in army

In Germany, women started combat roles from 2001, there is no gender discrimination in the army in the country.

Canada was one of the first countries in the world to strike down all gender barriers for women to serve in the armed forces.

Women were actively listed to serve in combat roles since 1989, and the contentious submarine service was also thrown open to them from 2001.


Indian women in armed forces

In India, allowing women to serve in combat roles has been a subject of intense debate. In fact, at this year's Republic Day parade, many contingents of the Army and Navy were led by women but the chance to serve in combat roles still remains elusive.

Although, technological advancements have changed the nature of warfare but combat is as much about strategy and as holding nerves as it is about physical strength and and women have increasingly proven themselves to be worthy soldiers. 


'Women as interpreters in army': Bipin Rawat

Army chief General Bipin Rawat had said last year that,'We are not yet ready for that as facilities have to be created within the armed forces and women also need to be prepared for that kind of hardships. It is not easy. Let us not compare ourselves with western nations. The western nations are more open.'

'Yes, we may be more open in our big cities, but our Army personnel are not coming from big cities only. They are coming from rural areas too, where the intermingling, which is expected, is still not there,' the army chief added.

'Women officers are being inducted in all the three services. But what we have to decide is whether some of them can be given permanent commission. The army too has taken a call that there are some aspects, some fields, where we need some kind of continuity and permanency.'

'In a command-oriented army, male officers do not fit the bill everywhere. The army needs language interpreters as military diplomacy is gaining ground. The basic requirement is understanding the language while talking to other nations, military to military. So we are looking for women as interpreters,' he said.