India has appointed the first woman Director General of its Paramilitary Forces

When the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), a Paramilitary Force that patrols India’s border with Nepal and Bhutan announced two years ago that it was going to recruit women officers, it was seen as a historical and progressive move. That year, 58-year-old Archana Ramasundram, a Tamil Nadu cadre police officer was in the news for her controversial appointment as the Additional Director, CBI. This was a post which she eventually had to give up after her appointment was challenged in the Supreme Court by the Tamil Nadu government. She then went on to head the National Crime Records Bureau as Special Director. Today, she has made history for being appointed as the first woman Director General of the SSB.

The post fell vacant on January 31, after the retirement of former chief BD Sharma. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) issued an order yesterday to appoint Ramasundram to the post till the date of her superannuation, which is September 30, 2017. She took charge today.

In a force of 72,000 people, there are less than 1000 women. She has been under constant media spotlight because her career has been lined with many firsts as a woman. From the time she joined the police academy in Hyderabad in 1980, where she was the only woman in her class, to her most recent achievement, gender is something she has always tried to move past. “It (gender) should not matter, but it does,” she said on NDTV yesterday. She also said that the ex-chief of SSB was her batch mate, so it should have come as no surprise that she was chosen to take his place. 

 

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