The U.S. Army reportedly plans to revoke the gender-neutral fitness test it launched in October last year.
The move comes as a response to a vast discrepancy in performance between male and female test participants.
According to the study issued by Pentagon, a staggering 65 percent of women failed the test while only 10 percent of men did not obtain a sufficient score.
Several months ago, only 7 percent of women and 54 percent of men did not achieve the minimum score to pass the test.
As the main goal of the test was to help in soldier’s promotion, many Army officials fear that keeping the same test for both genders might result in women being underrepresented in crucial military ranks.
This is the reason why the restoration of separate tests for each gender is being actively considered.
The test was conceived to include exercises like hand-release pushups, sprint, leg tuck, drag and carry, a maximum deadlift, standing power throw, and a two-mile run.
Each participant can obtain a maximum of 600 points, 360 of which is required to pass the test.
Most soldiers must take the test two times per year, except for Guard Soldiers who need to take it only once.
Even though those who fail are not susceptible to any penalties, passing the test offers advantages for successful soldiers.
Altering the assessment
The suspension of the test was reportedly ordered by the Democratic-controlled Congress whose members explicitly consider the test unfair and oppose its role in military promotion.
Congressmen allegedly consider assessing the test results based on gender-based percentile groupings.
This would mean that each participant might be evaluated based on their performance compared to other participants of the same gender.
As a consequence, this might involve lowering the success threshold for women.
Some U.S. Army officials expressed their worry about the ramifications of these kinds of modifications.
Captain Kristen Griest, the first female infantry officer in the Army, warned that lowering the threshold for women might damage both the Army and women themselves.
Captain Griest explained that such a move would negatively affect combat effectiveness and might even constrain the opportunities for women to become credible soldiers who can compete with men.
She expressed her support for the test as an objective standard required for the success in military profession regardless of one’s gender.