The Army is rolling out a new fitness test: Will it hold back women?

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.

The test, which will become the service’s official fitness test next month, has prompted a broader debate over whether the service’s focus on fitness and strength will elevate physical prowess over other qualities, such as effective and ethical leadership, or make it harder to retain troops with skills needed in an era of high-tech military competition.

Army officials say the new age- and gender-blind fitness test, the first of its kind in the U.S. military, was developed to reduce injuries and better prepare soldiers

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Rolling Hills leads wave of fitness clubs reopening outdoors

  • Greg Wright does a weightlifting exercise outdoors in the “Muscle Lawn” at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Novato, Calif. on July 25, 2020. Rolling Hills moved weights and fitness classes outdoors and are practicing social distancing for swimming and tennis due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Members use fitness machines that have been placed outdoors under tents at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Novato, Calif. on July 25, 2020. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Members use fitness machines that have been placed outdoors under tents at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Novato, Calif. on July 25, 2020. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Rolling Hills Country Club employee Zinni Rodas sprays spin class cycles with a disinfectant after a class in Novato, Calif. on July 25, 2020. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Members are able

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