Last week the United States Marine Corps made a stunning announcement. The Corps was delaying a physical fitness standard that was supposed to take effect at the start of the new year. It was this: Women Marines must do a minimum of three pullups to pass the annual physical fitness test.
When the test was given last year, only 45 percent of women passed. The Marines said they could have kept the standard, but, as the Associated Press put it, “the risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service was unacceptably high.”
Men in the Marines also have to do a minimum of three pullups to pass their test. But men have to do 20 pullups to achieve a perfect score. Women have to do only eight.
Surely there are women who can meet the same physical standards as men. The U.S. military should be interested in those women only, not in women who need a 60 percent lower standard to achieve a perfect score. It certainly should not want to put into combat anyone, male or female, who cannot do three lousy pullups. If the standards are not identical for both sexes, then lives will be put at risk for the sake of political posturing.