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'Gender norming' is the practice of judging female by less stringent standards than their male counterparts, particularly in the workforce. This serves as an affirmative action policy to increase the proportion of women in male-dominated professions. In the US military, fitness,in particular, is determined in relation to the average female officer rather than to the average male officer. This is done by accounting for genetic differences such as the lower average upper-body strength of women. The derivative term "norm" or "normie" refers to the average woman in a military corps.
The US Army adopted gender norming at West Point, calling it a system of "equivalent training". The objective is to ensure that positions are filled with a balance of both genders, and requires that women be given less physically challenging tests than men in order to attain the same fitness rating.
"Male Marines must complete a fifteen-mile march carrying a forty-pound pack and weapons in five hours, while women must march ten miles with twenty-five pounds and no weapons in three and a half hours. The U.S. Marine Corps also has used a hand grenade that only 45 percent of females can throw far enough so they are not injured by its explosion."
David Brinkley, deputy chief of staff for operations at the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, told the AP “the men don’t want to lower the standards because they see that as a perceived risk to their team,” and “the women don’t want to lower the standards because they want the men to know they’re just as able as they are to do the same task.” Other opponents include Walter E. Williams, who wrote that "officers who insist that females be held accountable to the same high standards as males are seen by higher brass as obstructionist and risk their careers", and Elaine Donnelly, the founder of the Center for Military Readiness.
- Datnow, Amanda (2002). Gender in Policy and Practice. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. p. 173. ISBN 0-415-93271-8.
- Walch, Weston (1993). Cases and Controversies in U. S. History. Portland: J. Weston Walch. p. 115. ISBN 0-8251-2320-8.
- The Decline of Males, P. 210 by Lionel Tiger
- Most army women don’t want combat assignments: poll
- Gender Norming Update
- "CONSTRUCTING THE CO-ED MILITARY" DUKE JOURNAL OF GENDER LAW & POLICY, Volume 14:815 2007 Elaine Donnelly
- Weak Link: The Feminization of the American Military July, 1989 by Brian Mitchell
- Women in the Military: Flirting With Disaster December 1, 1997 by Brian Mitchell
- A Kindler, Gentler Military: How Political Correctness Affects Our Ability to Win Wars 2001, by Stephanie Gutman
- "The Cowardly Push to Get Women Into Combat" by Mark Thompson Time Magazine July 25, 2013
- Marine Corps weighs lower standards for women after none pass Infantry Officer Course - Washington Times
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- Donnelly, Elaine (18 June 2007). "CONSTRUCTING THE CO-ED MILITARY". DUKE JOURNAL OF GENDER LAW & POLICY. 14:815: 815. Retrieved 14 April 2015.