A new study has revealed that only a quarter of female Marine recruits are passing the gender-neutral physical tests required for ground combat jobs.
The Marine Corps Times reported Friday that, according to recently released data from Training and Education Command, less than 1 percent of Marine recruits joining to train in combat arms career fields this year were women. Of the women who did join the training, 75 percent failed to meet the physical standards necessary and were forced to take non-combat jobs.
The Marine Corps Times reported that between Oct. 1 and May 31, 51 female recruits entered boot camp and took the Military Occupational Specialty Classification Standard test. Only 13 of them, or 25 percent, managed to meet the physical requirements for front-line combat jobs.
Meanwhile, the Times said that data showed that 7,264 of 7,552 of male recruits passed the tests. This means 96 percent of men who showed up for the same jobs as the women passed the standard physical requirement.
The Times broke down where the failures for women occurred. Of the 38 who failed, 17 fell short of the physical combat support MOS standards, 12 failed the infantry MOS standards, six failed for combat engineer MOS standards, and three failed for fire direction and control.
According to the Times, the data for 2017 matches the data for 2016. That year, only 25 percent of women made it through the physical tests for ground combat jobs, while 96 percent of men passed the same tests.
The opportunity for women to serve in front-lines ground combat roles began in January 2016.
A 2015 study by the Marine Corps utilized both men and women Marine volunteers to study the effects of women in front-line combat roles. The study noted that all-male combat units performed better across the board than mixed units in the field. According to the study, the all-male units were faster, more lethal, and able to evacuate their wounded at a faster rate.
As NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman explained during a September 2015 interview that the Corps added one or two women to various units and put them trough trials in the Mojave Desert:
What the Marines did was they put together this unit of men and women — 100 women, 300 men. And they put them through realistic combat scenarios in the Mojave Desert and then up in the mountains of California along the seacoast and outside of Camp Pendleton. And they broke them down into small units, so they had an all-male unit and then a unit with one woman and then a unit with two women. And they found that the all-male units, compared to the mixed-gender units, did much better across the board.