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Indian Women Army officers pose for a photograph in New Delhi, India. Photo: Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Starting in November, women in India will be allowed to take the entrance examination for the national defense academy for the first time, India's Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, per AP.

Why it matters: The ruling marks a landmark achievement in the push to allow women into the premier academy that churns out the country's top army, navy and air force commanders and become full-time officers, according to the New York Times.

The big picture: While women have served in India's armed forces since British colonial rule, how high they could rise in their ranks was limited because they were excluded from the top military academy, the Times notes.

  • Although the ruling will continue to allow women to be excluded from most combat roles, they will now be eligible for roles among the elite top brass, per the Times.
  • Entering the defense academy will also allow women to pursue longer careers in the armed forces, whereas previously female officers could only serve up to 10 to 14 years, AP reports.
  • The court also rejected a request from the government to be given until May 2022 to prepare infrastructure, accommodations, curricula and fitness training for women, per AP.

What's next: Women will be allowed to sit for the upcoming exam on Nov. 14, per the Hindustan Times.

What they're saying: The Supreme court said in its ruling that it "cannot belie the aspirations of young girls," in further delaying their chance to sit the exam, per the Hindustan Times.

  • The decision “gives a sense of victory,” Anju Bala, a former major in the Indian army, told the New York Times.
  • “They have got one more window open to compete equally with men,” she added.

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden admin releases first national strategy to promote gender equality

President Biden with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House in August 2021. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday released a 42-page plan to promote gender equality at home and abroad — the first national strategy of its kind.

Why it matters: Women in the U.S. and around the world dealt with an unequal playing field before the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated many of the issues they face, potentially reversing years of progress.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

1 hour ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.