Commonwealth country India has inducted the first female pilot and officers into its Navy, in a move described by the government as representative of the strides being taken in the country to uphold women’s rights, it was reported by the Independent
Commonwealth country India has inducted the first female pilot and officers into its Navy, in a move described by the government as representative of the strides being taken in the country to uphold women’s rights, it was reported by the Independent.
Shubhangi Swaroop will be the country’s first ever female naval pilot and will be flying maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Aastha Segal, Roopa A., and Sakthimaya S. were appointed to the Naval Armament Inspection branch in the same ceremony.
Both units are historically male-only, as are the majority of India’s military forces.
For decades, India has struggled to match its fellow Commonwealth nations’ steps to ensure gender equity in the workplace and wider society.
According to official statistics, only 27% of Indian women work, and a 2013 study found that the country had the second lowest rate of female employment in South Asia after Pakistan.
India has faced frequent international criticism over its lack of protection of women’s human rights.
Victims of sexual harassment and assault, gender discrimination and domestic violence often do not receive sufficient support, and crimes against women often go unpunished in national courts, leading to many women not even reporting cases.
Women who do report abuse are often shamed or `dishonoured’, being blamed for `promiscuity’.
A study published in October, 2017 found Indian capital New Delhi was one of the worst places for sexual violence against women in the world.
Women’s rights experts assessed women’s risk of encountering violence in cities with a population over 10 million, as well as access to health care, economic opportunities and vulnerability to harmful cultural practices.
Since a high-profile case of a fatal gang rape in 2012, international pressure has been put on India’s government to force legislative and social change.
One example of measures taken to date is the set-up of specialised training for police forces and women-only police units.
The government has lauded the appointment of female officers into the Navy as symbolic of the progress being made on Indian women’s rights.
Speaking to the Times of India, Shubhangi Swaroop said: “I know, this is not just an exciting opportunity but a great responsibility also.”
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