Holding women to equal standards especially in terms of physical exertion on entrance exams has been met with a tremendous amount of resistance from women through the years in various states and in various occupations. Police and fire departments in particular have been hit the hardest with lawsuits and complaints from female recruits who typically after failing the test, sue the department claiming that the test was virtually impossible for women to pass and thus was indicative of a concerted effort to exclude women unfairly from the field.
Standards that result in a high amount of men failing are fine but when women fail that's when the lawsuits or complaints start raining down. My research uncovered quite a few of these incidents and as I present this try to place yourself into the shoes of the men(and in some cases women) who actually put in the hard work necessary to pass the exams and then had to listen to these women being coddled during these lawsuits.
The first instance of women crying discrimination because they could not meet the standards occurred in 1974 when a woman who failed the Cedar Rapids Iowa Police Department's physical exam filed a complaint.
Next is a story from 1976 where women sued the Ukiah California Fire Department after failing the written exam because they claimed the exam asked applicants tool-related questions and as a result demonstrated a clear bias in favor of men. The women in the suit wanted back-pay plus compensation even though no indication was given that they had ever done any work as a firefighter.
The next story happened in 1977 in Troy Michigan and the Police Department was hit with a complaint by a female applicant of discrimination on its physical entrance exam. She failed the test and claimed it was unfairly difficult for women.
In 1995 two women sued the FBI after failing the trigger-pull test and claiming the test was designed to exclude women from the organization. They claimed that needing to be able to pull a trigger on a gun was not related to any activities FBI would need to perform.
In 2013 three female Royal Air Force recruits won £100,000 in cash for crying discrimination due to having to march in formation next to tall men. They claimed that because the men were taller than them it resulted in them developing injuries due to having to try to keep up. Additionally they claimed that having to carry rucksacks as heavy as the men's rucksacks contributed to the atmosphere of discrimination and injury.
In 2014 a 95 pound 4 foot 7 inch woman sued the sued the local sheriff's department for discrimination because they denied her a full time position due to her small size. She claimed her small size didn't impact her ability to be a sheriff.
A firearms officer in 2014 won a lawsuit against the Department because the guns they used were supposedly too big for her finger to reach the trigger. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary was subsequently found guilty of discrimination against her as well as another female officer after the lawsuit was filed.
The New York Fire Department in 2014 completely eliminated their physical fitness test requirements during an effort to hire more female firefighters. This wacky move came right on the heels of the department being criticized for not having enough female recruits pass the tests.