An Army initiative to create a stronger, fitter fighting force has yielded a dramatic gender gap, raising questions about whether the service might unintentionally compound barriers for women trying to move up the ranks.
Recent Army figures show that 54 percent of female soldiers failed the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which is being rolled out on a provisional basis, compared with 7 percent of men during the second quarter of 2020.
That reflects a significant improvement over last year, when leaked data showed that over 80 percent of a smaller cohort of female test-takers failed the six-event exam. But some women fear they won’t be able to pass even with additional training or will continue to score lower than men, potentially affecting their career prospects in an institution already struggling to shed historical gender and racial disparities.
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