Defence Ministry equalizes maternity leave for women soldiers and Officers
Equal maternity leave for Women Soldiers and Officers, announces Defence Ministry
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has given the green light to a proposal that will provide women soldiers, sailors, and air warriors with the same maternity, childcare, and child adoption leave entitlements as female officers in the armed forces. The decision aims to enhance the working conditions of women in the military and assist them in achieving a better work-life balance.
The new rules will ensure that all women in the military, regardless of their rank, are eligible for these leave benefits. This move is aligned with the minister's vision of fostering inclusive participation of women in the armed forces, irrespective of their ranks.
Supporting women in the Armed Forces
This decision comes at a significant juncture as the armed forces have introduced the Agnipath recruitment model, allowing women to join the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) cadre for the first time. The move signifies a departure from the traditional recruitment system and seeks to recruit soldiers for a four-year period, with the possibility of retaining 25% of them in regular service for an additional 15 years following reevaluation. These recruits are referred to as Agniveers.
The inclusion of women in the Agnipath model will empower the armed forces with the courage, dedication, and patriotism of women soldiers, sailors, and air warriors, enabling them to defend the country's land, sea, and air frontiers.
Indian women have made remarkable strides in the armed forces, from being operationally deployed in challenging environments like Siachen, the world's highest battlefield, to serving on warships and dominating the skies. The recruitment of women soldiers in the Indian Army's Corps of Military Police in 2019 marked a significant milestone in gender integration within the armed forces. The decision to provide equal maternity and childcare leave reinforces the armed forces' commitment to promoting gender equality and supporting women in their military careers.