Obstacle course

Study finds all-male Marine units outperform units with women

Students take part in the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Quantico, Va., March 28, 2013. (Christopher Gregory/The New York Times)

In what could be a setback to the Pentagon’s plan to open up all military jobs to women, a study by the Marine Corps has found that all-male Marine ground combat units are more efficient than those that include women. In most cases, the all-male units were faster, stronger and more lethal, while women were also more vulnerable to injury than men during the taxing physical training. The Marine Corps is the most male-dominated branch of the Army, with only about seven percent women, and this study was the first to specifically look at what gender integration could mean for combat effectiveness. Officials have also warned not to draw too many conclusions to quickly: Marine Colonel Anne Weinberg, for example, believes that better training and screening could boost female performance and reduce injuries. The services have until the end of September to request a waiver from the Pentagon to keep some military positions closed to women, but it is not yet clear whether the Marine Corps will request this exception.

Read the full story at USA Today.

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