After the decision by the MOD to open ground close combat roles (i.e. Infantry and Armoured) to women last year, the British Army’s fitness test will be evaluated to ensure women can (physically) qualify for these front line roles.
Although all roles will be open to women from 2018, the new physical training standards will not be introduced until 2019. (Sculthorpe, 2016).
Practical changes mean the “Physical differences between men and women will be recognised in the tests.” (Sculthorpe, 2016). Thus, the new standards (when finalised) are intended to better balance the demands of a specific military role with the training given to the individual recruit.
As reported in the Sunday Times (Hookham, 2016), these reforms will come alongside changes to “The army’s physical training [which] is “optimised for male physiology” and tests are based on “old and incomplete science”, according to a Ministry of Defence document seen by The Sunday Times. The MoD says it is attempting to identify the “most effective” training methods for female infantry troops.”
Hookham, M. (2016) Fitness Test ‘Relaxed’ to help put Women on Front Line. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/fitness-test-relaxed-to-help-put-women-on-front-line-79d7bxp25. [Accessed: 26 March, 2017].
Sculthorpe, T. (2016) Army Fitness Tests to be Re-written to Make Sure Female Soldiers can Qualify for Front Line Duty. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3521538/Army-fitness-tests-written-make-sure-female-soldiers-qualify-line-duty.html. [Accessed: 26 March, 2017].