Defence

Women in the armed forces celebrate spirit of womanhood

Women in uniform of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), i.e., lady doctors of the Army Medical Corps, Navy, Air Force, lady dentists of the Army Dental Corps and nursing officers of the Military Nursing Service, the oldest all-women service of AFMS, writes Anil Bhat

Mar 12, 2018
By Anil Bhat
 
Women in uniform of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), i.e., lady doctors of the Army Medical Corps, Navy, Air Force, lady dentists of the Army Dental Corps and nursing officers of the Military Nursing Service, the oldest all-women service of AFMS, celebrated the spirit of womanhood on International Women’s Day  at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on March 9.
 
This happened to be the first all-woman event, in which the chief guest was the country’s first woman Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, who while addressing the gathering said that the  debate about empowerment should not always be a gender based argument, whether the individual can perform being a woman or a man. 
 
Highlighting the stellar role, power and potential of women officers in the AFMS, she said, “I think there are areas in which men should be posted, not so much to fight them, but for making them understand that well you may not be good in this you may be good at something else. So blanket rejection of male or female can completely be avoided. That’s why I think whenever we talk, it should be citizens’ empowerment.”
 
Women officers, an integral part of AFMS as doctors, dentists and nursing officers, stormed the conventional male bastions through sheer determination, grit and merit and have been great assets to the military medical organisation in war and in peace. As such, it was befitting for AFMS to hold the function as a tribute to the indomitable spirit of women on International Women’s Day celebrated globally on March 08, 2018.
 
DGAFMS Lt Gen Bipin Puri delivered the welcome speech and lauded the role of women officers as health care providers and care givers. Ex DGMS (Air) Air Marshal (Retd) P Bandopadhyay gave an inspiring talk on the role of women in AFMS down the years. The session was chaired by Ex DGMS (Navy) Surg Vice Admiral (Retd) Punita Arora, the first woman three-star General of the AFMS. The minister also felicitated three senior retired women AFMS officers on the occasion.
 
The event was attended by delegates comprising of senior serving and retired women AFMS officers from across the country. It was followed by a panel discussion on role of women officers in field/operational areas. Overall, the event celebrated the tenets of gender sensitisation and parity, equal opportunities, respect and shared responsibilities for building a brighter future for women in the AFMS.
 
(The author, an Indian Army veteran, is  a strategic analyst, who can be contacted at wordsword02@gmail.com)

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