The Army has begun the process for selection of women officers for command postings in the rank of Colonel, which has so far been the domain of male officers.
According to sources, women officers Special No. 3 Selection Board is being conducted for promotion from the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel to Colonel from January 9 to 22. This flows from the Supreme Court judgment in 2021 upholding an earlier judgement granting permanent commission as well as command postings to women officers in all arms and services other than combat.
“A total of 244 women officers are being considered for promotion against 108 vacancies, from 1992 batch to 2006 batch, in various Arms and Services (Engineers, Signals, Army Air Defence, Intelligence Corps, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Electrical & Mechanical Engineers),” an Army source said.
Editorial |Arms and the women: On gender parity in the Army
At the culmination of the Selection Board, the 108 women officers who are declared fit will be under consideration to be posted on various command assignments. “The first set of such postings will be issued by end of January 2023,” the source said.
The vacancies for this Special No. 3 Selection Board were released by the government to promote affected women officers to ensure gender parity in the Army, the source said.
Elaborating, the source said a total of 60 affected women officers have been called as observers for the Selection Board to ensure fair conduct and clarify their apprehensions, if any.
Following judicial intervention, the Army granted Permanent Commission (PC) to women officers on a par with their male counterparts. “All women officers granted PC are undergoing special training courses and challenging military assignments to empower them for higher leadership roles in the Army,” the source said, adding that PC to women officers in junior batches had also commenced, in which they are considered for PC in their 10th year of service.
For the first time, five women officers cleared the Defence Services Staff Course (DSSC) and the Defence Services Technical Staff Course (DSTSC) Exam last year, which is held annually in the month of September. The five women officers will undergo a one-year course and be given adequate weightage while being considered for command appointments, the source added.
Army Chief General Manoj Pandey announced last week that the Army would soon induct women officers into the Corps of Artillery.