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US Army may nix gender-neutral fitness tests as women overwhelmingly fail, says biological differences matter

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The Pentagon may reverse the U.S. Army's new "gender-neutral" physical fitness test for its male and female soldiers because more than half of female soldiers are failing the test.

What are the details?

According to a Saturday report from the Telegraph, the Army is "considering a reversal of its new gender-neutral physical test to instead include different evaluation categories for men and women."

A study from the Pentagon noted that at least 65% of female soldiers were failing the military's Army Combat Fitness Test. At least 90% of male soldiers passed the test.

In response to the study, Congress has halted implementation of the new test, and the military is looking into whether the test is actually fair.

"In the ACFT there are six events — the maximum deadlift, a standing power throw, hand-release pushups, a spring, drag and carry, leg tuck, and a two-mile run," the Telegraph noted. "To pass the test those taking it must score at least 360 points out of a possible 600, and those who achieve higher scores are more likely to be promoted."

Average women's scores, according to the outlet, are approximately 100 points lower than men's.

What else?

An unnamed Army official told Military.com that it is imperative to "figure out a way to make it fair to both genders."

"We are not going to artificially inflate the raw score for women, but we have to figure out a way to make it fair to both genders," the officer explained. "We need a fair way that accounts for physiological differences. If anything, it's a more gender-neutral assessment process because it doesn't show the raw scores."

Military.com reported, "The proposed solution involves the creation of 'gender-specific' percentile bands broken into levels such as Top 1%, Top 10%, Top 25%, and Top 50%, according to an Army briefing slide circulating on social media."

"All they are going to see for evaluation is which percentile the soldier falls into," the official said. "The gender identity will not be included in that information."

In February, U.S. Army Captain Kristen Griest, the Army's first female infantry officer, said that the gender-neutral test "should be scored the same for men and women."

"The entire purpose of creating a gender-neutral test was to acknowledge the reality that each job has objective physical standards to which all soldiers should be held, regardless of gender," she said at the time. "The intent was not to ensure that women and men will have an equal likelihood of meeting those standards. Rather, it is incumbent upon women who volunteer for the combat arms profession to ensure they are fully capable and qualified for it. To not require women to meet equal standards in combat arms will not only undermine their credibility, but also place those women, their teammates, and the mission at risk."

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