In November, the Marines announced that they'd pushed back a new requirement for women in the Marines to complete the same physical fitness test as men by January 2014. That standard has been pushed back yet again because more than half of female Marines cannot complete the three pull-ups demanded of men and women.
Though the news was reported by NPR a week ago, the Marines hadn't confirmed reports until Thursday, when a story in the Associated Press came out reporting the same thing. When NPR reported the news, Marine officers said "they delayed the pull-up requirement to avoid losing not only recruits but also current female Marines who can't pass the test."
Now, according to the AP, 55% of female recruits can't complete three pull-ups, compare to 1% of male recruits. Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman said that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to "continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed." Time is slowly ticking away though; while it's unclear how long this current delay will last, the physical requirements were originally changed to open more jobs in the military to women by 2016.
In other news, the Marines have changed their rules to allow women to wear their hair in "partial multiple braids" while in uniform. While there are still many hairstyles that can't be worn (braids can "be no larger than ¼ inch in diameter and no more than and 1/8 of an inch of scalp revealed between each braid. No foreign material adornment, such as beads, is authorized with the braids."), the change comes an addition to the decision to have women to wear the same uniforms as men made in the fall. The latter was a change that the majority of Marines polled disapproved of.
And at at the end of December, 10 more women graduated from Marine Infantry training out of 13 (including one who was injured and couldn't graduate the previous round), a major increase from the three out of 15 who graduated in November, the first three women to graduate from infantry training ever.
Image via Cpl. Chelsea Flowers Anderson/U.S. Marine Corps