The U.S. Army is planning to consider the fitness test performance of men and women separately for promotions, The Washington Post reported.
“We will look at the application of a gender-neutral score to a personnel system as appropriate . . . to make sure that we acknowledge that there is a biological difference, a gender difference between men and women,” said Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, head of the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training.
The Army’s Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) has been criticized for creating a gender disparity due to how it overemphasizes strength over leadership. Given that fitness scores matter for promotions, this potentially hinders women’s military careers. Of those who took the test by the end of 2020, 51% of female soldiers and 86% of male soldiers passed, according to Sgt. First Class William Reinier, Army public affairs adviser.
When troops were allowed to substitute one of the test’s six events – the leg tuck – with the plank, women’s results improved.
The plank option will now become permanent.
Furthermore, promotion boards will only see soldiers’ rankings instead of raw scores.