By Paige Hardy | Reporter
For the past 38 years, the Army’s philosophy on its standards for physical fitness were simple: men are generally stronger than women, so they are held to higher physical standards than women. That is, until this past October when the Army announced the year-long development of a new test called the Army Combat Readiness Test. The test has recently entered its trial stage and includes six events which would be both age and gender blind.
Women in Baylor’s Army ROTC welcome this change, as the difference between the men’s and women’s standards were substantial.
“To some extent, our standards are a lot easier. Because our ‘maxing’ [achieving the highest possible score] is almost the guy’s failing [score],” said Austin senior Rachel Ormsby. “So I think that’s really where the discrepancy is.”
In the current Army Physical Fitness Test, a man who runs two miles in 15 minutes and 54 seconds would fail the test with a score of 60 percent. A woman who completes the two miles in the same time would pass with a 90 percent score. Ormsby, who has nearly reached a 100 percent score in the male’s scoring, is excited to test the new standard.
“It’s not something I’m super worried about,” Ormsby said. “I think it will be another challenge, which will be cool.”
Ormsby estimated that women make up roughly 40 percent of Baylor ROTC, doubling the 18 percent national average according to a 2018 study. Ormsby seemed almost confused when asked if she felt her gender affected her experience.
“That honestly never really crossed my mind, and it hasn’t been a problem since I’ve been here, especially at Baylor,” Ormsby said.
Sierra Vista senior Emily Boone agreed, saying she never feels discriminated against in ROTC because of her gender.
“Everyone’s given the same opportunities, and nobody’s looked down on me because I’m a woman or vice versa, looked down on someone because they’re a man,” Boone said.
Although Baylor’s Army ROTC continues to show signs of true equality, the Army continues to work towards stronger armed forces with women at the forefront through initiatives like the ACRT.
“Army Reserve Female Soldiers continue to prove their capabilities and combat-readiness everyday as part of the total force and the civilian work force,” said the U.S. Army Reserve during National Women’s Month. “By fully integrating women into all facets of the military, including combat arms, [we] will make the U.S. Armed Forces better and stronger. “
If this year’s testing goes well, the ACRT will be fully implemented in October 2020.