Half of women officers selected for permanent commission: Indian Army

The Army on Thursday “declassified” the results of the ‘Special No 5 Selection Board’ constituted to screen short-service commission (SSC) women officers, with almost 300 of the total 615 candidates being selected for PC, said a senior officer.

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A woman army officer salutes during the Army Day parade
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NEW DELHI: Almost half of the women officers considered for permanent commission in the Army have made the grade in the first-ever special selection board held for them in the 13-lakh strong force.

The Army on Thursday “declassified” the results of the ‘Special No 5 Selection Board’ constituted to screen short-service commission (SSC) women officers, with almost 300 of the total 615 candidates being selected for PC, said a senior officer.

The women not selected included those who did not opt for PC as well as the ones who did not meet the selection criteria or pass the medical test. They will retire after completing 20 years of service, which will make them eligible for pension.


The Army in September finally begun screening of women officers who could be granted PC in 10 of its branches, in accordance with the Supreme Court directive in February to end gender bias in the force, as was earlier reported by TOI.

The special board, headed by a Lt-General, included a woman officer of brigadier-rank. Women officers were also permitted to witness the proceedings as observers in order to add transparency to the entire process.

The defence ministry had in July issued the formal order to grant PC to women officers in eight more branches of the Army, in addition to the existing ones of the legal and education wings.
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The eight branches are Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and Intelligence Corps.

Women number just over 1,600 in the 43,000-strong officer cadre in the Army. The military brass for long opposed PC and command roles for women due to “operational, practical and cultural problems”. Women officers, of course, are still not allowed to join main combat arms like infantry, mechanised infantry, artillery and armoured corps in the Army.

They also cannot serve on board warships and submarines in the Navy. But the IAF, which already had women transport aircraft and helicopter pilots, has commissioned 10 women as fighter pilots since 2016 to break yet another glass ceiling.
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