Feminists like to pretend that men and women are the same. But when it comes to tackling an intruder racing through the White House with a knife, men have biological characteristics that make them more suited for the job.
It was a female Secret Service officer who failed to overpower Omar Gonzalez, who ran into the White House on Sept. 19. Women are not only smaller, lighter and weaker, on average, but female Secret Service officers have to meet lower standards of fitness than male officers do.
Women have been special agents in the Secret Service since 1971. But when it comes to matters of security, President Obama and the public deserve the best. That means political correctness — appointing less-qualified women for the sake of diversity — should take a back seat to ability. Standards should be truly gender-neutral, focusing on the needs of the job, without dumbing down physical standards for women as is the case in the Secret Service, the military, and police and fire departments throughout the U.S.
The initial screening for acceptance into the Secret Service is the gender-neutral Applicant Physical Abilities Test (APAT), a physical-fitness test developed for the agency consisting of push-ups, sit-ups, a short distance agility run and a 1.5-mile run.
More challenging is the Secret Service Physical Fitness Evaluation, required quarterly for Secret Service employees who carry weapons, such as those who guard the White House complex and the president. That test has different standards for men and women. To attain a “good” score in the 30 to 39 age group, men have to perform 41 to 49 push-ups in 60 seconds, and women have to perform 25 to 29. Men must do eight or nine chin-ups, and women have to do three. Men have to complete 39 to 42 sit-ups, and women have to do 29 to 34. Men have up to 12 minutes and 20 seconds to do a 1.5-mile run, and women have over 15 minutes.
If women cannot meet men’s standards, they should be employed in other positions.
Look at it another way: A 30-year-old woman running a mile and a half in 13 minutes and 42 seconds would be rated “excellent” in the Secret Service’s evaluation. A man of the same age running at the same speed would be rated “poor.” Women are being admitted to the Secret Service with the same physical characteristics as men who are being turned away. This is discrimination against men.
Although our military needs to be operating at maximum efficiency to deal with global terrorist threats, our services are working to place more women in combat roles, rather than fewer. California Democrat Loretta Sanchez, a leading proponent of women on the front lines, said: “At the end of the day, the only question that matters is whether a man or a woman can meet the gender-neutral standards.” But the standards are not gender-neutral in the military.
The standards of the Secret Service and the military might seem far removed to the average citizen. But differing gender standards are also true of police departments. To become a police officer in Washington D.C., men in their 30s have to do 30 push-ups in 1 minute, while women have to do half the number. Men have to do 39 sit-ups, women 29. Men have 12 minutes for a 1.5-mile run, and women have 15 minutes. When it comes to apprehending criminals, strength matters.
Differing standards were instituted to result in more women in the forces, not to lead to a more capable force. By definition, they are leading to a less-capable, but more politically correct, force, with men being turned away for standards that are acceptable for women. The same standards should apply to all. After all, don’t feminists say that men and women are equal?
Feminists may say women are as fit as men with slower running times and fewer push-ups. That is undoubtedly true. But the Secret Service and the military should be recruiting the absolute best, not just the best for their gender.
Feminists also say the nature of warfare and defense is changing, and that physical strength matters less than it used to. But Omar Gonzalez broke through multiple security barriers, including dogs and alarms, and ran around the White House until an off-duty male Secret Service agent apprehended him. You never know when strength matters, and security agents need to be prepared.
Wrongdoers do not have to pass physical tests to be admitted into the fraternity of criminals. Instead, ruthlessness, immorality, brutality and raw physical strength are characteristics of many criminals. Justice Department data show that most criminals are men. To protect the American public and the president, we need agents and officers who can be placed in harm’s way and stop criminals, not individuals to be placed in harm’s way as sacrificial lambs to political correctness.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, directs Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute. You can follow her on Twitter here.
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