Women Naturally More Fit Than Men According To Study

Women Fitter Than Men

The title seems to be some what of a hyperbole. The study conducted revealed that women process exactly 30% more oxygen more efficiently compared to their male counterparts. This has been suspected for sometime,but it looks like it has finally been confirmed. Oxygen uptake is only one element of physical fitness. Women can obviously reach a certain physical fitness level through training and diet. However, men have higher absolute peak physical fitness. This includes attributes such as muscular strength and speed. Women it seems have more muscular endurance as revealed by another study produced this year. The University of Waterloo in Ontario conducted a study involving 18 subjects. All these  men and women were active. They performed treadmill exercise and researchers concluded women process oxygen more quickly. Thus it may seem that women have more efficient in terms aerobic fitness. This does challenge the conventional belief that the male body is just naturally more athletic compared to women’s bodies. Women do have athletic advantages and biological sex does not seem to be a limitation.

        Peak physical fitness refers to how strong, fast, and how much endurance  an athlete can get through exercise and diet.Once an athlete reaches their physical peak, they can no longer improve any further. Men have more muscular strength even when the training regimen is the same. The muscle cells do not differ between men and women. The strength difference is related to several factors . Body size is a factor and on average men are larger. Males have denser bones including larger tendons and ligaments. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association women can produce two thirds the muscular force of a man. This is an estimate of 66% and the remaining percentage has to do with the upper body. Men have more upper body strength.

Women are closer to men in the lower body. Considering the histology of the muscle is similar for men and women, they can gain strength at the same rate through strength training. To do so a person must train to their threshold using progressive overload. Men have higher absolute strength based on endocrinology and body composition. Men have a greater amount of type II muscle fibers and higher amount of testosterone that aid in protein synthesis. Women have a higher estrogen level allowing for more fat.  These biological and physiological differences are not entirely closed by training. What stops women from have equal muscular strength after a training regimen is the difference in skeletal size, body composition, and difference in hormones.

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Measuring hand grip strength is not as accurate for determining strength. weightlifting records would be more precise.

 Relative to absolute strength levels a female athlete could be strong as or stronger than the average man. It is rare that women could reach the same level of an equally trained man. However, there can be overlap although very small. Running speed and aerobic fitness is important to sports. Women have smaller hearts and lungs which will effect running speed. This means a woman’s vo2 max is lower in comparison. Lower hemoglobin levels mean less oxygen being transported. Oxygen is essential for the tissues of the body.

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Hand grip strength data from a experiment. The female athletes  are located in the above 50 percentile. Males reached 100 and above.

Women may have more muscular endurance. During exercise they seem less prone to fatigue. It seems in various studies women were able to contract muscle groups over long periods of time. Men still had more strength, but could not keep up with the contract muscle groups as long as women in exercise physiology studies. The title is incorrect saying women are fitter than men. A more accurate title would be women have a physical fitness advantage in oxygen use.

       The researchers conducted their experiment following the regular procedure of the scientific method. The 18 subjects did a treadmill test. Their heart rates were monitored as well as oxygen content in  their tissues. What was also studied was their oxygen levels between their veins and arteries. The total tests were four in total and were moderate intensity. There are some questions that must be asked. Were these subjects longtime or novice athletes or casual exercisers? This can make a difference in results. There obviously is a difference in physical fitness levels between the average person, moderate exerciser, and the professional athlete.

If this study wanted to be very precise it would have to have a larger sample size. This sample size would have to include those moderate exercisers, average people, and professional athletes. Only then could a more lucid picture be given. Nine men and nine women may simply not be enough for an experiment. Also there needs to be a detailed account of their fitness activity. If women in this study trained harder than the men it would distort results. Comparing a fit woman to an unfit man does not reveal much. The men who were in the study one can assume trained just as hard or with a similar method. Science should aim for precision, rather tan just accuracy. The actual test with the treadmill seems like the best method of acquiring data. Only if the results can be replicated can this be regarded as scientific fact.

        The results found that women have a physiological advantage. Their oxygen up take was more efficient resulting in less muscle fatigue. Women’s muscles extract oxygen from the muscles faster. This indicates that women’s aerobic capacities could be more efficient relative to their male counterparts. Normally, the assumption was that men would have the most physical advantages due to biological, anatomical, and physiological differences. Professor Beltrame  even stated ” this shakes up conventional wisdom.” It is still unknown why women have this advantage. This study was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism . One theory  is it could be related to women being capable of pregnancy. An efficient oxygen transport would be required to sustain a baby during the gestation process. Another possibility is that it is related to human evolution. The hominins of the past may have needed males to have a higher physical fitness capacity to do hunting, while females concentrated their physical functions on child birth. These are only speculations, not facts.

Why do men have higher running speeds if women are more efficient with oxygen up take? It is related to the structure of the female pelvis. It is wider which alters biomechanical function.  The muscles of the legs are the same, but men just have larger ones. This study is still useful even if it has flaws. Analyzing sex specific differences can contribute to designing training programs to improve women’s performance. Women are not physically inferior it is just their total physical fitness capacity is lower compared to men in particular areas of physical fitness. Exercise physiologists and health scientists are just now uncovering women’s physical advantages in athletic performance. Most studies have been done for male athletes and seeing as women are different this did not help understand how to design better training programs. Despite the biological and physiological differences women can develop into impressive athletes.  Being female does not limit physical fitness potential.

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Women Naturally More Fit Than Men According To Study

Common Strength Genes Identified

Common Strength Genes Identified

The University of Cambridge conducted a study identifying the common genetic factors in muscular strength. The data was accumulated from 140,000 subjects, with an additional 50,000 people from the UK, Netherlands, and Australia. The goal was to identify sixteen variants associated with muscular strength. Dan Wright was the author of the academic paper produced out of the Medical Research Council on Epidemiology. Wright’s analysis is that identification of such genes will allow for understanding the biology of muscular strength and relation to health. The variants were either located near or inside genes that play a role in muscular function including muscle fiber function and muscle cell nervous system communication. This reveals much about monogenic syndromes. Single genetic mutations can cause serious health problems. The difference variation among genes may explain why their is various differences in strength levels among populations. Dr. Robert Scott believes such a discovery could be a means of treating muscle weakness or other diseases of the muscular system.

       Hand grip strength was used a measure for identifying genetic variation. This normally is used as a tool for assessing muscular fitness. It has been suggested that weaker hand grip strength is associated with possible bone fracture risk and other health problems in older adults.  Hand grip strength has been linked to certain health outcomes, the correlation in regards to muscular strength in more uncertain.

There is certainly no or limited evidence that having lower strength increases the risk of cardiovascular disease or death. Higher strength did reduce the risk of bone fracture. Strength training was the best method of increasing bone mass as a preventative measure. If hand grip strength were an indication of longevity, then males would be expected to live longer. The truth is that on average men have shorter life expectancy, while having a stronger hand grip.

Male-female-grip-strength-decumulate-and-overlap There are obviously multiple factors that influence health. It is not just sex, but genetics, environment, and quality of healthcare. Diet and lifestyle choices also cam effect a person’s health. It has been speculated that people with greater hand grip strength could possibly recover from surgery. There are multiple genes and environmental factors interacting with one another to produce outcomes. The question still remains which specific factors are the most responsible for particular results. The data gathered had information on demographic, biometric, and health outcome variables.

        The genes related to muscular function include ACTG I, PEX 14, TGFA, and STY1 . ACTG 1 is responsible for muscle fiber structure and function. PEX 14, TGFA, and STY1 are essential for the communication between the nervous system and muscle cells.

Genes are units of DNA required to produce protein. These sections need to code for all amino acids to contribute to protein production. The location of the gene is on the chromosome. There can be several sections of DNA on certain regions coding for only one part of a particular protein. It is not one gene that influences traits, but a combination working together. To understand this, think of your body as a building. The rooms represent your cells. Each room (cell)  has filing cabinets ( chromosomes)   with papers (genes). The people getting access to the papers have to follow the directions written on them ( proteins).

The process is more complex than a simple analogy, which explains why mutations could occur. Not all mutations are harmful. Yet an serious error in a gene could cause health problems or disease. Variations that occur in LRPPRC, PEX 14, and KANS1 can be linked to certain medical conditions of the muscular system. There could be a possibility that there are more genes related to muscular strength.

         Added strength can reduce bone fracture risk. Strength training contribute to the health of the musculoskeletal system. As a person ages they lose both bone and muscle mass. The ossification process of bone changes during a lifetime. bone is broken down and rebuilt by the body. Osteoblasts must work to replace cells in the skeletal system. Osteoporosis and fractures become a health risk as people age due to changes in endocrinology. Sex hormone levels lower causing these changes.  Women who naturally have lower bone density are at risk. Smoking and high alcohol consumption have the ability to increase risk factors.

Race can also play a role. Women who are of European or Asian ancestry have a higher chance of getting osteoporosis. This is more so a representation of population genetics, rather than just   ethnic background. It does not mean every woman of that ethnic group will get it. Certain illness can be avoided with a change in habits. Exercise and a balanced diet can improve the quality of life. When there is a full understanding of genetics this will vastly improve the quality of the biomedical and health sciences. Beyond those two fields, there could be possibilities in terms of sports performance, exercise physiology, This may even have a level of controversy in regards what we should be allowed to do with the human body.

        It is inevitable that such knowledge will contribute to a transhumanist path. Genetic engineering is no longer an idea of science fiction, but scientific fact. If muscular strength could be determined by sixteen genes, it is possible to manipulate these genes to increase human athletic potential. The athlete of the future may be able to acquire super human strength only thought of in superhero comic books . There is the prospect of gene doping as it has been called becoming a problem for the sports world. There has to be to an extent a level of acceptance that performance enhancing drugs or genetic alteration will not disappear. Sports organizations still retain the right to ban whatever substances they choose, but would genetic manipulation still be considered an unfair advantage? If it were to be completely fair in a certain context, athlete’s with a natural advantage would have to be hindered in some way. Other competitors may be at a disadvantage simply, because of their genetics. To an extent training negates this, but it can only close a performance gap so far. There are bioethical questions regarding genetic engineering on humans that must be discussed. Like it or not humanity has reached a point in which it has become master of its own biology and soon its own evolution. The evolution has happened even without the aid of genetic knowledge or technology. Athletes now are bigger and stronger than they were in the past.

Better nutrition and training regimens has contributed to this development. The knowledge of sports science has increased vastly over the past century in terms of physiology and specific exercise sciences.  Discovering these specific genes could allow for more precise training regimens depending on an individual’s physical fitness potential. With new discoveries there is a potential for abuse. Technology and biological discovery do come with a level of risk. However, this is no excuse to remain ignorant about natural phenomena. There is still more to know about genes and cytology. Further exploration will not only help understand the nature of human health, but unraveling the mystery of life.

Common Strength Genes Identified

The Body Mass Index (BMI)

The body mass index is a calculation value for measuring the amount of body fat and what the weight should be of an individual of a certain height. This has been used to classify whether or not a person has weight related issues such as obesity. This scale has been used for both adults and children. The issue is that it may not be very precise. The measurements do not take into account muscles mass. The attempt at being a scientific measure does not seem as practical. Normally, when a person gains huge amounts of weight health problems become apparent. Aches and pains are present in the joints, because the skeleton has to support more weight than it was intended for. There is also a drastic decrease in cardiovascular fitness. The circulatory system becomes strained and the risk of certain cancers increase with an increase in body weight. The body mass index is not even accurate enough to be used as a diagnostic tool. The BMI is more of a screening tool. It may not even be as useful a screening tool as previously thought. A more precise assessment of weight related issues would involve skin fold thickness measurements, an examination of family history, and evaluations of both diet or physical activity. It is questionable that BMI can even be a measure of health.

           The body mass index at its core is a formula measuring a range of body weight that is considered healthy to a person’s height. The modern  body mass index came into existence in 1998 under the the National Institutes of Health. It was designed to be a general standard to aid doctors, researchers, dietitians, and various government agencies. Prior to this there was not a nation wide standard of determining healthy weight. Since the birth of BMI there has now been one standard.

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bmi-chartThe BMI value can either be metric or English system of measures.  The chart does not fully account for people of different somatotypes. Those with a mesomorphic body could be classified as obese. It should also recognize that women naturally have a higher body fat level no matter what  their weight is. The thinnest or most muscular woman would still carry a higher fat percentage. A woman who is not overweight may fall into the classification. Colette Nelson a female bodybuilder would reach at total of 175 lbs in off season being 65.1  inches tall ( 5 ft 5 in ). Using the equation for the BMI ( English system of measures). Solving this mathematically would be as follows : 175 lbs divided by the square of 65 inches and multiplied by 703. This results in a BMI of 29.11 on the chart placing her in the over weight range. If 0.89 were added to that value with an increase of her weight she would be in the obese range. When looking at pictures of Colette Nelson, it is clear that she does not have a weight problem.

           When she competed it was at a weight of 145 lbs. This would make her BMI at that point 24.13 considered a healthy weight. However, there is no indication she was any less healthy with a higher body mass. Her body is mostly muscle mass and their is no way for the chart to distinguish between fat and muscle. This is not just a problem for women measured on the scale, it also happens to larger men. If we were to do more calculations with women of different somatotypes a similar problem could occur. Women who have ectomorphic body types could be incorrectly classified as underweight. Halley Berry would have a BMI of 20.13 and could fall into the underweight range. As one can see she obviously is not emaciated, just thin.

It would be simple to fluctuate between these designated ranges in the BMI scale. Adding a small amount of weight would not serious harm health. The BMI has many limitations in precision. It does not estimate accurately the total amount of body fat that is present. It does not account for sex differences and sex hormones that have an effect on body composition. A person can have a high BMI, yet not be overweight or obese. Many professional athletes if their BMI was calculated would fall in the overweight range of BMI. It has been suggested that waist circumference may be a better indicator of weight health. The reason why the BMI may be rooted in its origins.

        The origins of the body mass index can be traced back to the 19th century. Adolphe Quetelet developed an index in which weight (kilograms)  was divided by the square of height (in meters). This was known as the Quetelet index  until 1972. Quetelet was by profession by trade a mathematician, astronomer, and statistician. He had a fascination with probability calculus and wanted to apply this to the study of human characteristics. The Belgian scientist then produced the equation in 1832. When this equation was developed, the world was a different place. Corpulence was seen as a sign of good health. This made sense in a time of limited food security. Even with the green revolution of the 20th century, there are still nations that struggle with food security. Prior to this having some fat would have meant survival. It was not until the mid-19th to early 20th century did weight gain began to be seen as a potential health risk. Insurance companies took note of this and developed normal weight tables of their own to determine which policies they should give their customers. Louis Dublin owner of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was the harbinger in regards to normal weight charts based on a person’s height. This system was not exactly precise either. Weight was divided by a given height into two thirds. Undesired weight was 20% to 25% and the classification for morbid obesity was 70% to 100%. These measure seem arbitrary. Another problem was that these measures were done mostly on Western populations.

   The Polynesian  populations have a larger body structure compared to Europeans. This is a product of genetics, rather than race. The athletes that are from that region do not have health related issues in regards to weight. Yet, past and current weight classifications would state they are unhealthy. This is not true. East African runners may be classified as being under weight. Seeing as they have a high physical activity level it should be assumed that their health is in optimum condition. Such charts and equations do not account for the variation in populations globally. When  Adolphe Quetelet made produced his work he had no intention of using it for understanding obesity or weight related issues. He wanted to see if there was a Gaussian distribution in terms of height and weight. He did encounter issues when doing this with his statistical samples. The equation was developed to contribute to fixing possible errors. During his research he found that body mass increases during puberty height and weight stabilize. The only thin he was documenting was the average rate of growth in stages of the human life cycle. Even if a calculation is done in the metric system a person who is not overweight or obese could fall in that classification. Lenda Murray’s weigh was 74 kg and stands at a height of 1.65 m. Squaring her height and then dividing by the total weight results in a value of 27.2 BMI.

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This again places a person in the overweight range, when they do not have a weight problem. If we were to present this visually it would simple enough to see who has a weight problem. Lenda Murray during her years of competition was clearly at a high physical fitness level .    This does not mean physiognomy should be a measure of health. Women with naturally endomorphic body types would not be at a serious health risk. That would only happen if there was a drastic change in diet or endocrine related illness or disorder. Using charts and equations for weight in which it was not intended for will not give accurate assessments of health.

 The body mass index is not the best method for detecting weight problems. Studies have indicated that overweight individuals have similar or better outcomes compared to normal weight individuals in terms of cardiovascular incidents. There can be alternatives to determining healthy weight.

         The alternatives to BMI  measurement involve examining waistline. A 2012 study done in eight European countries showed that overweight people with large waists were most likely to develop diabetes just like people who were morbidly obese. Then there is the method of using the skinfold. The skinfold method measures body fat in various folds of skin  on the human body. Personal trainers use this method to help clients with particular fitness goals. There also could be more rudimentary measures. The ability to be ambulatory should be a simple marker. When people put on a certain amount of weight walking becomes more difficult. The extremely obese sometimes lose their ability to walk simply because the bones in their legs cannot support it. When weight goes up the skeleton will struggle to maintain support. Bone mass does not increase with the rise of adipose tissue. Stress tests could be given as an indirect way to see if there are potential weight issues. It is clear that everyone’s health condition is different and methods need to be developed to account for that fact.

        Health professionals continue to use BMI when there has been both historical and scientific questions to its accuracy. The body mass index does not thoroughly take into account sex and age in the measurements. As people age they lose muscle mass which can effect health. Older people may have a normal BMI, yet could be losing critical bone and muscular strength. There also has to be consideration for where the weight is gained on the body. If weight is gained in the abdominal or hip areas it can increase certain risk factors. The body mass index at least could be used to measure the probable weight health of a given population. This measure would not be a precise one. If there is an account of athletes who are larger, people who are thinner, or people of endomorphic body types this distorts the data. If this is considered the obesity rates may not be as high as previously thought. It is clear that weight related issues are on the rise globally, but there needs to be an improve method of measures. The best method to prevent or deal with weight related health challenges are the traditional ones : diet, exercise, doctor’s appointments, and controlled eating.

References

Zelman, Kathleen M. “How Accurate Is Body Mass Index, or BMI?” WebMD, WebMD, 5 June 2016, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/how-accurate-body-mass-index-bmi#1.

Brodwin, Erin. “One of the Most Popular Ways of Telling If You’re a Healthy Weight Is Bogus – Here’s What You Should Do Instead.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 9 Sept. 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/bmi-is-bogus-best-way-to-tell-if-youre-a-healthy-weight-2016-9.

Eknoyan, Garabed. “Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874)-the Average Man and Indices of Obesity | Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 22 Sept. 2007, academic.oup.com/ndt/article/23/1/47/1923176.

Team, The MNT Editorial. “BMI (Body Mass Index): What Is BMI?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 5 Jan. 2016, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/what-is-bmi.php.

The Body Mass Index (BMI)

The Frailty Myth: Can Colette Dowling’s Monograph Sustain the Tests of Biological, Physiological, and Anatomical Science ?

The Frailty Myth is a monograph written by Colette Dowling that states two questions “can women be equal to men as long as men are physically stronger ?” and “are men in fact stronger?” Dowling claims that the answer is that “strength and physical skill for all women is only a matter of learning and training.” She states that the strength gap and performance gap can close when ” when women and men are matched in size and level of training.” Her reasoning is not exactly correct. She is right that physical prowess and athleticism is not male only. There have been plenty of skilled and talent athletes that have emerged in various sports over the years. There are sociological issues that prevent women in many ways from reaching higher in the sports world. many women simply do not have the opportunity to do so. It is clear that environment does play a role. This does not mean biology does not play a role. The third wave feminist argument is to base such differences on environment only. Dowling’s  work it states almost women could have sports performance levels equal to men. There are biological, anatomical, and physiological reasons why there is a performance gap. This gap will most likely shrink with sociological barriers and stigmas are eliminated. When that occurs the records may not equal men’s. Unless there is some radical change in human evolution or physiology millions of years from now, there may in our life  times no significant change. If she wanted to make the best argument, her writing should have had more sources from exercise physiology journals. Without them, the text has less cogency when tested against biological, anatomical, and physiological science.

           Dowling states there should be a new way of assessing performance. It does raise a legitimate question. Who and what is being compared ? Obviously the comparison is between men and women at high physical fitness levels. Comparing a female athlete to an out of shape man does not prove the argument. The assessment here should examine both male and female athletes of the same training level. The comparisons must be of women and men involved in the same sports.

Besides the biological, physiological, and anatomical differences there has to be an account for individual variation.  The variation in natural physique can differ among people no matter what their biological sex is. Certain body types people are born with. Other body types are better suited for particular sports. Long distance runners are more on the ectomorphic side, compared to weightlifters. Comparisons should be of women and men who are both the same height and weight. Accurate record keeping is comparatively new to the history of sports. Since it has began, human performance has improved. The reason could be a great understanding of the human body, training methods, and improve healthcare. There is also the factor of performance enhancing drug use, which can distort data. Women too have improved, but there remains a 10% difference in performance. Granted women had to overcome ( and still do) barriers in the sports world their rise has become rapid. It is however doubtful that women would be competing with men in mixed categories in certain sports.

           There are some biological differences that explain performances level variation. These differences are influenced by genes. Men contain XY chromosomes, while females just contain XX chromosomes . The difference can be seen on the 23rd pair. The SRY gene in men produces sex determining region Y protein. This protein is responsible for male characteristics. This causes the development of the testes  in the fetus. This will later have an impact on the physiques of  men. Women do not have this have this happen. They develop ovaries. The gonads will produce different hormones and have an effect on the endocrine system during puberty. The primary biological difference between the sexes is the reproductive system. This is also connected to hormonal differences in relation to the varying levels of testosterone and estrogen. Androgens do provide men an athletic advantage, but estrogen contributes to athletic performance. Estrogen can aid in muscle recovery after work out sessions. Some research suggests that it acts as an antioxidant prevent possible inflammation. Colette Dowling is correct in stating that this sex hormone does not put women at a disadvantage.

  The female athlete has to take into considerations specific health issues. These are related to concussions, ligament or tendon injuries, or menstrual irregularities. If a woman over trains hypoestronic amenorrhoea can occur. This is a condition in which estrogen is low and periods cease. The menstrual cycle itself is not a disadvantage to women athletes, yet their still is an effect on the body. The factors that could cause female athletes to be susceptible to   irregularities  include low body fat, late menarche,  immature reproductive axis, and poor nutrition. Biological differences do influence physical fitness capacity.

         Anatomy the science of body structure also explains gaps in athletic performance. The skeleton has morphological differences between the sexes. Women’s skeleton’s are less dense .Women have a wider pelvis which effects running speed.  The thoracic cage also differs in women. It tends to be rounder and not as large. A larger skeleton means that there is more room to house muscle on the body. The structure of the pelvis also makes the legs of women form what is called a Q angle. This is one reason why the fastest woman would not be able to out run the fastest man. Denser and large bones add to a biomechanical advantage. The muscular structure does not differ. Women have the same muscles, yet total amount causes the difference in absolute strength. Men have less body fat to begin with and a higher percentage of muscle. Women can still build muscle mass, yet retain a higher body fat percentage. Men have more upper body strength and women come closer to the lower body. Some researchers even believe that men’s muscle fibers might even be larger. This combined with a larger portion of type II muscle fibers allow for more power. The respiratory system of men and women also play a role in athletic performance. Women have smaller hearts and lungs, which means total aerobic capacity could be lower.

Oxygen and blood work together to provide the body energy during intense physical activity. The lungs engage in gas exchange taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. The heart technically is a muscle that pumps blood. The tissue of the body requires oxygen for function. The nervous system is also active in the process of movement both voluntary and involuntary. The anatomical structures do influence performance, but function is critical as well.

          Physiology describes the function of and mechanisms of  an organism. The Frailty Myth would benefit from having  greater explanations into sports medicine and sports science. The physiological differences also account for athletic performance gap. Oxygen has to be transported to the muscles so that it can produce adenosine triphosphate. This allows for muscular contractions. Men’s aerobic power is greater due to the fact they have higher hemoglobin levels. This makes oxygen get to the tissues faster compared to the function in a woman’s body. The greater amount of testosterone men have allows for greater protein synthesis. receptors bind to muscle cells initiating the process. This androgen also increase growth hormone which is released during exercise. It should be understood this is only one factor that is involved in muscular hypertrophy. Growth factors also contribute which include insulin, insulin like growth factor 1, heptocyte growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor. The biggest factor is metabolic function. Women metabolized food differently meaning more of it could be converted into fat stores.

Frailty Myth Book Review

Training is critical to any athlete, but diet cannot be ignored. The physiological differences in women must be accounted for  if a training regimen is to be designed for maximum performance. There is still much to be learned, because most of the exercise physiology studies have been done on male athletes. Although the monograph suggest another technique of  measuring performance in terms of biomechanics ( using height ), it still is clear that there is a gap. Ellis Cashmore’s mathematics is correct when measuring relative velocity between Florence Griffith Joyner and Carl Lewis. However, it is unlikely she would have reached  his exact speed or surpassed  it.

Dowling was quoting a ports  sociologist, however the assessments of Per-Olof  Astrand seem more accurate. There is room for improvement in women’s records. Overtime there will be improvement when more is discovered about the human body’s exact physiological functions. The anatomical, physiological, and biological factors are explanations for differences in performance. Yet its should be realized that other factors are playing a role in outcomes.

        If the idea that women could reach physical performance levels equal to men were to be experimented, some conditions would have to change. Colette Dowling provides a great explanation of how performance is effected by sociological factors. There has been many medical myth surrounding women’s bodies and exercise. Psuedoscience  from  19th century Victorian medicine was designed to discourage women from using their bodies. During that period women were thought to need a rest cure, before they entered puberty. Too much exercise was though in some circles of the medical community to cause “genital decay.” The medical community, eugenicists, and physical educators believed the only purpose a woman had was to reproduce children. The idea the female body was too weak for strenuous activity was common place. When this was disproved there were still efforts to exclude women from the sports world.

While today it has become better. it is not an equal playing field. Girls are not taught physical skills to the same degree as boys at a young age. Physical education is not taught the same way to girls. Skills such as running and throwing are not normally passed on to girls. Besides strength and speed, skill is also important to athletic performance. Boys do not naturally throw better at a young age, they are taught to. Girls rarely get that type of training from their fathers. From ages one to thirteen there is no difference in physiological capacity between girls and boys, yet the physical education standards are different. As girls mature into women, they face extreme body image pressure. The woman who wants to pursue athletic endeavors may not have access to the best training facilities. The goal of an experiment is to have the most precise measurements. These sociological factors effect measurements. Until this changes, records will only be accurate. Women have come far considering in just a short period of time. The question how much they can improve athletically is still a mystery. It would be too presumptuous to say that improvement  never happen.

           The concept of physical equality that Dowling proposes is a peculiar one. She states that” strength and physical skill for all women is only a matter  of learning and training.” The physical capabilities of individuals vary. There are obviously men stronger than other men. Using the term physical equality implies that women are by default in a state of physical inferiority. Nature does not create organisms that are inferior. According to such logic, certain organisms should not be extinct. Neanderthals were much stronger than the homo sapiens, but failed to acclimate to a rapidly changing environment. Thus using physical strength as a basis of measuring “superiority” or “inferiority” has no scientific basis. How strong a woman can get depends on certain factors. Genetics, body type,diet, and training method account to the extent of total strength capacity.Men just on average have the ability to be physically stronger.

Sexual dimorphism is the result of millions of years of primate evolution. It has been theorized that it developed out of the specific needs of the environment and the process of sex selection.  The average size and height difference between men and women relates to an emphasis on male competition for females in the human evolutionary past. If  there was not such an emphasis, men and women would be of a similar size. That does not mean there cannot be variation within the human species. There is phenotypic and genotypic combinations that make individuals unique while still being part of the same species. Height, weight, and skin color vary among human populations. Being female does not automatically mean weak. Women have to train harder  to reach a particular physical fitness level. This means if a woman is attempting to perform on the same physical level as a man she would have to use more of her physical power reserve.

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This is a test done by NASA for physical fitness capabilities  in relation to space travel  it sates:”Female strength as a percentage of male strength for different conditions. The vertical line within each shaded bar indicates the mean percentage difference. The end points of the shaded bars indicate the range.” Human Capabilities

Strength is harder for women to attain, but it can be done. It is still debatable whether or not women should train like men or have a program tailored to them. The best approach is to load bearing exercises to allow for enough micro-trauma to cause muscular growth.  Smaller weights may not be as effective.

A 132 pound woman untrained should be according to rough estimates able to bench at least 64 pounds. If training remains consistent in a few months could reach 82 pounds. Jennifer Thompson who is an elite weightlifter benched 300 lbs only weighing a total of  132 herself. The average male weightlifter novice’s bench press can be 135 lbs. Women can reach a male novice lifting strength level or intermediate. Others like Jennifer Thompson could  possibly overlap ( 290 lbs is the highest range for bench press). The conclusion that could be drawn follows a model of  Gaussian distribution. This graphically shows the function of probability. The middle of such a graph shows the common average ( men are stronger than women )  while there are opposite ends of the graph showing showing other variables ( women stronger than men or weaker men ). Normal distribution is a useful too in statistics and analysis of data.

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An example of overlap in a population.
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The representation of normal distribution sometimes referred to as a bell curve.

 What can be drawn from this is that women at elite levels will not perform exactly like their male counterparts. The strongest woman will not be as strong as the strongest man. The weakest woman would be weaker than the weakest man. Through training a woman can at least reach or come close to average male strength.

An Experiment that measures hand grip strength. Looking at the pictures below it gives an idea of where men and women would fall in terms of physical strength. 

The strongest women and the weakest men. Obviously them being male does not  automatically make them stronger. 

The strongest men and the weakest women. Men have a higher potential at gaining more strength. 

It is rare that women surpass men in strength given the same training regimen. There are unique exceptions that can exist. Here is another problem with Dowling’s concept of physical equality. There are women who have surpassed men in physical strength already. The goal seems to have been reached when comparing a man of a low or average fitness level. Colette Dowling’s approach to her argument is not based on a scientific method.

        The scientific method functions on particular methods to reach facts. She states her hypothesis the first step in the process. The athletic performance of both men and women is both testable and observable. It does not have compatibility with other hypothesis, although it is a newly investigated question. The claim that the strength gap will close can go through a process of experimentation. The women would be the independent variable. To get precise data one would either have to examine  Olympic records or make this a controlled experiment among selected subjects. Observation has been an important part of the sciences. A controlled setting can reveal more than attempting to do this at an actual sporting event. After observation the data must be analyzed then possible conclusions can be made. The experiments must be done again to prove that the hypothesis is correct. Only then can it be called scientific fact. Men and women of the same height and weight are not equivalent in all areas of  body strength. Women who are the same height and weight of a man can be estimated to have at least 80% absolute strength. What accounts for the difference is upper body size. This explains why men’s records are higher in weightlifting and shot put. Women’s records have remained stable since 1983. There remains a 10% difference in athletic performance.

 CAN WOMEN CLOSE THE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE GAP?

When’s performance falls with in the range of a 90% ratio. This indicates that their is the possibility that women’s athletic performance can increase. There are athletic advantages women have in terms of flexibility and the utilization of fat. Looser joints aid in figure skating and gymnastics. Women may have an advantage in distance  swimming due  fat. This may allow for higher bouncy and reduce drag in water. It has been theorized that women may have more muscular endurance compared to their male counterparts. Women have physical advantages, it is only now that they are being examined. The conclusion is very different from Dowling’s. Women will not close the performance gap, but narrow it. It is correct to say that the female body is not biologically inferior or frail. Peak physical fitness levels  are higher in men based anatomical, biological, and physiological factors. However, this does not stop women from achieving high levels of performance. As more women enter the exercise physiology field and sports science there may be new discoveries into the extent of women’s physical fitness capacity. Dowling’s work only partially withstands a scientific investigation.

The Frailty Myth: Can Colette Dowling’s Monograph Sustain the Tests of Biological, Physiological, and Anatomical Science ?

Are Women Physically Fit Enough For Space Travel ?

As astronomers and astrophysicists discover more about outer space and the universe as a whole, there is the possibility that in the future humanity will regularly explore space. There could be chances in which humankind will engage in terraforming. There does exist exoplanets that may be Earth like. There will of course be the need for astronauts in the movement for wider space exploration. Such a journey either to reach a star or another planet would have a level of danger. Humanity reached the moon in 1969, which was the product of the Space Race during the Cold War. At that time most of the astronauts were men. Gradually, women began to become astronauts. There was and continues to be a common myth held that women are not physically fit enough for space travel. This is scientifically incorrect, yet there are still some considerations in terms of physiology and biology of a female space traveler . The environment of space can effect human health and the body. Some changes are sex specific and others occur in both. radiation, weightlessness, and effects on fertility are hazards. There are also other variables to consider for a long journey into space.

     There are particular requirements to be an astronaut. Education wise astronauts must have a master’s degree or higher in a science that could include mathematics, engineering, astronomy, biology or chemistry. There are many with very diverse scientific backgrounds on ships. There is a physical an astronaut must pass. Applicants must be in the best physical condition. One requirement is that a person has 20/20 vision. Candidates must be able to handle pressure on their bodies. Under water exercise has to be done to acclimate them to the pressure of space. They must be able to swim three laps in a 25 metre pool. This has to be done without stopping. Then the same action is performed with the space suit.

The Women pioneers of space exploration as shown above include Mae Jemison, Valentina Tereshkova, Sally K. Ride, and Liu Yang. 

Astronauts are basically given a scuba diving instruction. There are points in which water landing could occur and water survival training is critical. There is a height requirement which demands you be 190 cm tall to be a commander or pilot astronaut. Being a mission specialist the height requirement is less ranging from 149 to 193 cm. This may be the hardest obstacle for women,because on average they are shorter than men. This could be negated one day when spacecraft becomes more advanced. An astrouat’s routine fitness regimen involves running, biking, and weightlifting the are  most essential. Endurance is required to handle the weight of space suits weighing close to 300 lbs (136 kg) .   There has to be an exercise regimen while in space to prevent bone and muscle loss in space.  The lack of gravitation does not give the body the work that the skeletal and muscular system need. There also has to consideration for the circulatory system. One requirement is that an applicant must have a  blood pressure  of 140/90. This has to be at the reading when sitting. There are situations in which face low and high levels of barometric pressure. There also involves training in reduced gravity aircraft. This contributes to a space explorer getting acclimated to microgravity environments.

These requirements need an individual to be in great shape and health. Applicants must also have some flying experience. Flying experience is only required if you want to be a commander or an astronaut pilot. The training for astronauts has become more efficient compare to when it began in the 20th century. When the simulations began in 1957, applicants had to get in planes, while sustaining the aircraft’s sinusoidal or parabolic maneuvers. A colloquial phrase for reduced gravity aircraft became the “vomit comet.”  Around 1973 NASA took supervision of the the training program from the US Air Force. Then by 2008 a private company known as Zero G Corp became responsible for training. Flying in a wave pattern and reaching the midpoint of the parabolic motion allows the passenger to experience weightlessness. During this period weightlessness only lasts about 25 seconds. This will have to be done consistently to adequately prepare space travelers. This can make people ill with changes in motion.  A person with extreme motion sickness may find it difficult to become an astronaut. These requirements do not seem as intense as other physically demanding occupations, but are still rigorous.

         There must be a consideration of sex differences in physiology and biology. The muscular and skeletal structure are important to physical fitness. Men have on average more muscular strength compared to women. This does vary depending on health condition, age, and genetics. Men have a larger portion of upper body strength estimates vary women contain at least 40% less skeletal muscle in the upper body and 33% less in the lower body.

The reason for this is based on endocrine function. Women produce more estrogen and progesterone allowing for more body fat. Even the most muscular woman is carrying more body fat compared to a man. Androgens and specifically testosterone allow for a greater amount of muscular hypertrophy. This does not mean women cannot build muscle or strength. When a training regimen is the same for both men and women it would still result in men having a higher physical fitness level. The gap has to do also with staring point. If men have more muscle mass prior to the training regimen the gains would be higher. Weight training still has the same effect on a woman’s body, just not to the same extent. Men have more type II fast twitch muscle fibers. However, the body does switch been the more endurance based type I and  the more powerful type II muscle fiber. Strength doe not only depend on the actual muscle, but the neuromuscular activity. The rate of muscular contraction is critical to exerting force. Women do experience muscular hypertrophy in which muscle grows and repairs after exercise. Relevant to space travel for extended periods of time, it women do not exercise they would experience atrophy at a faster rate.

      To counter this it is essential that women build up as much strength as they can to prepare for a microgravity environment. The more musculoskeletal strength the more suited an individual is to space and longer travel. Women have lower bone density. This explains why they could be more susceptible to osteoporosis. The female skeleton has a wider pelvis and smaller thorax compared to the male skeletal structure. The reason men have an upper body advantage is that wider shoulders can allow more muscle to be housed there. More muscle correlates to more fibers being recruited to produce force. The skeleton is the frame that holds the body together, while ligaments and tendons contribute to movement as wells well as acting as structural support.

Cardiovascular fitness is also pivotal. Women have smaller hearts and lungs which effects how Vo2 max functions. Oxygen is transported to muscles to aid in the production of adenosine triphosphate for muscle contraction. A larger heart means that more blood is going to the tissues. Women have lower levels of hemoglobin which means their aerobic power is lower. Hemoglobin is a protein that must transport oxygen from the lungs to other tissues. Besides the muscular, skeletal, and respiratory system there are also considerations related to the reproductive system. Menstruation is not an issue or a hindrance. The only difference is that hygiene will have to be performed in a different manner. The more threatening waste management problems that involve urination and defecation. Gynecological health will not be effected from being on a space ship. However, there is a concern relevant to both men and women in regards to radiation in space. This could cause fertility issues, which explains why most female astronauts wait before having children. It possible for humans to procreate in outer space, but no such experiment has been attempted. It is unknown how a baby would develop in a space environment. This is why there are some restrictions on what female astronauts can do while pregnant. Female astronauts cannot do neutral buoyancy training while pregnant. Underwater dives which could last to eight hours could have negative effects on a developing child. There are some differences in how men and women react to extremes in the outer space. Reduction in oxygen supply (hypoxia), varying temperatures, acceleration, isolation,  and impact are examples of sex differences. These are minor and vary depending on the individual.

         There has not been an extensive study of female astronauts in terms of  health and physical performance. The reality is that there have been few female  long duration astronauts. The few that exist are individuals and such a small sample would not reveal anything about a much larger group of women. Female astronauts could be at higher risk for ovarian and breast cancer. Urinary tract infections are also another health concern for female astronauts. Even bacteria on women’s bodies can be altered during spaceflight. Another observation is that some astronauts suffer vision loss. There are many problems that can occur to the organ systems of the body in space. If bone is shed too much this will  lead to kidney stones. This is a health problem that effects more men rather than women. There needs to be more studies of female astronauts and more in general. If humanity is seeking to colonize space or other planets women have to be a part of the process. There is obviously a gender bias in the sciences and space exploration. NASA conducted tests from 1960 to 1961 to see if women could handle the rigors of space travel. Jerrie Cobb who was a pilot who did the same medical and physical tests for Mercury astronauts at NASA. Her score placed her in the top two percent of qualified candidates. Yet, it was a period of sexist prejudice and NASA was simply not looking for female astronauts. Such barriers are being broken, but there still needs to be improvement.

 Staying in space would have long term effects on health and the human body. The reason has to do with how humans evolved. Our ancestors developed in an environment with gravity and space has a zero gravity environment. That is why bones and muscles are effected from a sudden change in environment. Human beings are just like other animals in the sense that their biome is essential to their survival. Outer space is a more rough terrain than any desert, polar ice cap, or ocean. The health effects can only be fully understood when one stays in space for a period of time.

          Remaining in space can cause a change in the human body. The semimotor system gets disrupted to a degree. The inner ear is responsible for balance an when this is disturbed one can get nausea. Sinuses could get clogged due to the fluids of the body floating upward. The skeleton can lose mass and it is possible for astronauts to lose about 1 percent each month. Muscles can atrophy from not being used in a microgarvity environment. There is a solution to such problems which include taking vitamin D supplements and exercising 2 hours and 30 minutes six days a week. The cerebrospinal fluid may be effected by the microgravity, which results in changes in vision. Although there is the possibility of changes in physical health, mental health is also given attention. Being with a small crew away from larger populations can effect emotional states. This information can reveal much about how women would fare in long term space exploration. Seeing as their muscle and bone mass is lower it would be wise to do strength training prior to training as a astronaut. The rate of muscular atrophy would be faster compared to men. Men and women with ectomorphic body types may be more vulnerable to bone and muscle loss.

Doubtless of sex each person could react differently to space. Long journeys are complicated by radiation and the fact that the magnetic field of Earth protects us from such hazards. Going further into space would require more technology to maintain a healthy body. Even with exercise equipment, muscles of astronauts can lose up to 40% of their capacity for work. Planning an expedition to Mars would be vary precarious. The Journal of Physiology conducted a study in regards to the effect of weightlessness on muscles. The results showed that astronauts lost about 35% of their muscle fiber force. NASA has estimated it would take at least 10 months to reach Mars and 10 months to get back for one mission. Space does pose health hazards, but it is an unexplored wilderness still filled with unknown possibilities. There are exoplanets, blackholes, stars, nebula formations, and dark matter.

The solution to the threat to muscular health was to develop the Advanced Resistance Exercise Device. It is unknown if this new technology would be as effective in combating muscular atrophy. The only way to know with certainty is to measure the amount of muscle loss astronauts sustained when coming back from space. This exercise technology has been around since 2008, prior to that there was very little effective workout equipment for training the muscles. Exercise and high quality diet can prevent health issues on flights.

       NASA did conduct a study in which it examined how men and women handle spaceflight. The problem is the study only contained about 57 female astronauts. There were more men representing a total of 477. The records were examined between 2013 to 2017. The report showed that men had a greater tolerance for spaceflight in particular categories. Women were less likely to have hearing loss or vision impairment. Women according to the study lose more blood plasma and have a higher heart rate under stressful situations. There is very little difference in immune system response to space. Both men and women suffer from motion sickness during space travel. It happens at different times. Women experience it when arriving in space, while men have it coming back to Earth. The overall leading heath risk seems to be visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome. NASA and the International Space Station want to extend missions beyond six months to a year .

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The different effects of spaceflight on female and male astronauts. 

The conclusion that one would automatically come to is that women do not make quality astronauts. This is not true, but it reveals how possible solutions can be developed. More women are need for such studies to ensure precision in experiments. Spacecraft will have to either increase in speed or navigate in a manner in which one can easily travel from one point of space to another instantly. This has been theorized by astrophysicists in which traversable wormholes could be used to go long distances. Doing so would allow humanity to avoid certain health hazards. Distance is the biggest obstacle. Alpha Centari another closest to Earth is 4.4 lightyears away. This means it would take light 4.4 years to reach Alpha Centari  from Earth. One astronomical unit is equal to 150 million km ( 93 million miles ). Humanity will have to go far to reach something of interest. NASA must then study the problem of long term spaceflight from perspectives of exercise physiology, health science, biology, aeronautical engineering. and the general astrophysics of space.

          Women are capable enough to handle spaceflight. There are some considerations that should be taken into account in terms of physiology and fitness. Muscle atrophy and bone loss are serious concerns. They can be negated to an extent through training and technology. There are sex specific health related issues that must be examined. Some wonder why explore space at all. There are legitimate and practical reasons. The first reason  is that it part of human nature to be curious and explore. Since the first hominins migrated off the continent of Africa humanity has been colonized the Earth. The Bantu migrations, the Polynesian migrations, the Turko-Mongol nomads, and the Age of Exploration prove humanity does not remain still. The next step will be to go into space. Another reason for space exploration is to find and colonize Earth like planets. Seeing as the Earth is being destroyed by climate change and disregard for the preservation of the environment that would be more reasonable. There will be more exploration in the future and it will only be a matter of time before masses of people will travel through space. Hopefully a generation of female astronauts will be contributors to this project.

 

References

 MailOnline, Jonathan O’Callaghan for. “Battle of the Sexes in SPACE: Nasa Studies Medical Records to Discover Which Gender Fares Better in Zero-Gravity Conditions.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 20 Nov. 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2842813/Who-makes-better-astronauts-men-women-Females-suffer-vision-loss-males-deal-stress-better-study-claims.htm

McNally, Jess. “Astronaut Muscles Would Wither by Mars.” Wired, Conde Nast, 4 June 2017, http://www.wired.com/2010/08/astronaut-muscle-waste/.

Monaghan, Sheila. “NASA ASTRONAUTS ARE INCREDIBLY FIT.” Furthermore from Equinox, Furthermore from Equinox, 5 May 2017, furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2017/05/nasa-astronauts-workout.
Koren, Marina. “What One Year of Space Travel Does to the Human Body.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 1 Mar. 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/03/scott-kelly-mikhail-kornienko/471717/.
Lunau, Kate. “Why We Desperately Need to Study More Female Astronauts.” Motherboard, Motherboard , 19 Apr. 2016, motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4xa38j/why-we-desperately-need-to-study-more-female-astronauts-NASA-Sally-Ride.
Sivasubramanian , Shami. “The 7 Requirements to Be an Astronaut.” SBS, SBS, 15 July 2016, http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/science/space/article/2016/07/15/7-requirements-be-astronaut.

 Juan 28 Jul 2006 at 12:18 tweet_btn(), Stephen. “What Issues Are There for Women in Space?” The Register® – Biting the Hand That Feeds IT, The Register , 28 July 2006, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/28/the_odd_body_women_in_space/.

Spencer, Henry. “Why NASA Barred Women Astronauts.” New Scientist, New Scientist , 8 Oct. 2009, http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/10/why-nasa-barred-women-astronau.html.
Taylor, Nola. “Vomit Comet: Training Flights for Astronauts.” Space.com, Space.com , 25 Aug. 2017, http://www.space.com/37942-vomit-comet.html.
Are Women Physically Fit Enough For Space Travel ?

BBC Future: “What If Women Were Stronger Than Men ?”

What If Women Were Physically Stronger Than Men ?

BBC Future is a section posted on there website discusses topics in regards to science, health, and technology. Its mission statement is ” making you smarter everyday.” It claims not to be a futurology based website, yet it seems to have elements of it. Predictions  that can be borderline outrageous are common with a sensational touch. BBC Future in its own words wants to be ” a guide to how to live more intelligently in a fast changing world.” Although most articles focus on technology and science, there was one that poses a question that can only be formulated through conjecture. Rachel Nuwer wrote the article “What If Women Were Stronger than Men ?”  consulting researchers and experts. There are some claims that seem incorrect.There are times in which experts make errors in assessments.This writing does not seem to be the most scientifically based. There are some facts about biology the should be reexamined. Also if this scenario were to occur it would either have to happen by means of evolution or sports medicine. The text recognizes that inequality is not sustained by physical strength, but fails to realize the phenomenon of organized mass violence as a means of oppression. Then there has to be an understanding of aggression levels between men and women. Would the relations between the sexes be different in terms of relationships? possibly and maybe not as one would expect. Society would of course change in some respects,but not in the way that the industrial revolution, sexual revolution, or decolonization changed the world.

         The only way women could possibly  end up being stronger than men is by biological evolution, genetic engineering, or mutation. There could be advances in exercise physiology or sports medicine that could alter women’s bodies.The article proposes “what would happen if women became stronger than men without thousands of years of evolution?” and expounds further the biological implications. Human evolution took 8 million years. Homo sapiens have only been around for 200,000 years.

Changes do not happen instantly in evolution. Walking upright or developing shorter intestines took millions of years. It was only six million years ago that bipedalism was demonstrated in the human species. Human beings vary in body shape and size. There are variations in muscle, adipose tissue, and skin.However,the skeleton can vary. People can either be tall or short. Sexual dimorphism was an environmental adaptation to environment. Our hominin ancestors would have struggled if they had a gestation similar to that of fish or reptiles. Terrestrial vertebrates do not produce thousands of eggs.A majority of species on the Earth show that females are larger for carrying offspring. Natural history demonstrates that there are major roles played by sex selection and natural selection in the process. Early primates just like today had different mating strategies. Species with smaller levels of sexual dimorphism tend to have multiple mates.Gibbons are known to do this practice. Gorillas have a higher level of sexual dimorphism meaning they would fight for mates. There also is a hierarchy related to this. Male gorillas rule over a group of female gorillas they mate with. This is termed a harem. Sex selection would involve females choosing the male that was deemed worthy for offspring. Natural selection would favor certain traits in an organism to be passed down through heredity. The body changes in response to environment and genetics. The human lineage saw legs of the body become longer and the arms reduce in length.

2 3 1_Family Tree 50_1000 Humanity is the last surviving species of the genus homo. The dramatic   shift in body proportions came around the period of 2.5 to 1.5 million years ago. The homo erectus developed a long legged body. This marked s change in the digestive system allowing metabolic energy to be used in other areas of the body. This was most beneficial to the brain and nervous system. Digestion of food could be done in a couple of hours, rather than days compared to other primates on a herbivorous diet. Environment plays a role and bodies that were tall as well as having long limbs were better adapted to warm weather. There is an interesting shift in strength that occurred in the genus homo. Humans developed lighter skeletons compared the much more powerful homo heidelbergensis and neanderthals. This is a mystery why homo sapiens did not inherit this feature of stronger bodies. One theory was that a more nurturing appearance may have stimulated  caring among kinship groups. Another reason was that physical strength was not as useful as brain power. Modern humans developed tools, language, and trading networks. Neanderthals may have lagged behind in these areas and thus did not survive. With the change in life style to permanent settlement and farming there was a reduction in physical activity. The life style went from being more rugged to more tame.  The sex differences between men and women remained  for the sake of sexual reproduction. While female size still remained smaller to male body size,there is obvious variation between individuals.

The Neanderthals had thicker bones and stronger bodies compared to modern day humans. 

Genetics are the reason why there is variation in populations. Genes are expressed and multiple ones can be responsible for certain phenotypic attributes. It was only in 2017 in which certain genes related to strength were identified. Both men and women can be carriers of these genes. This means if this trait is favored it can be transferred to offspring of men and women. However, environment is still a factor. A person with the ability to build great strength, but does not will not be the next athletic star. Then there is the factor of the MSTN gene which is responsible producing myostatin. It is a critical protein for regulating growth of skeletal muscle. People with lower levels will find it easier to build muscle. Genetic engineering could alter this protein enabling women to become stronger. This is more part of the realm of science fiction. Mutations do not occur by engineering; that happen naturally. A mutation such as IVS1+5G>A on the MSTN gene causes low production of myostatin. The mutation causes a disruption in the instructions used to produce myostatin. As a result it causes the body to have more muscle mass and strength. The over growth is not a cancer, because cell growth continues as normal. If this rare type of mutation were to become common in women it would result in strength gain. This shift would not require an understanding of genetics or epigenetics. Women becoming stronger than men would require millions of years of evolution and genetic drift.

            The factors that determine strength are also essential to producing a realistic scenario. The text states “while physical differences between genders has been narrowing women are catching up to men in some athletic endeavors especially ultra-marathon events.”  Women have produced impressive athletic performances, yet this does not mean the differences are narrowing in terms of physiology. When examining the muscular system, respiratory system, skeletal system, and cardio vascular system it is clear that the differences are still present even with the most physical fit women and men. Prior to puberty there is very little difference in physical fitness capacity. The strength spurt that boys get after 13 is due to changes in endocrinology. Testosterone allows for muscular hypertrophy to a greater extent. Testosterone is not the only factor in determining strength levels. If women were to become stronger it does not mean they would need an increase of androgens. While sex is a factor,body composition, muscle fiber distribution, height, and somatotype are important. It should also be clear in this scenario men do not change genetically or in regards to hormones. The SRY gene is responsible for male characteristics. This could happen without women lowering their estrogen. Women with mesomorphic body types could build considerable strength with training, because their physique allows for more results in strength gains. Simply having large muscles does not equate to strength. It depends on the total distribution of type II and type I muscle fibers as well as body composition. Fat does not contribute to strength. Height can be a factor, because a larger skeleton would mean room for muscle. Type II muscle fiber is designed for more explosive power compared to the more endurance base type I.

Naomi Kutin was just 10, when she lifted 215 lbs. Her muscles are not bigger than Margie Martin’s. This is the difference between training for strength or training for hypertrophy.     

Strength may not be dependent entirely on a person’s size. There are athletes who are smaller, but still are able to attain strength through a particular training method. It is possible to have the appearance of large muscles,but not have as much functional strength. Training for hypertrophy is commonly called bodybuilding.This increases the size of the tendons,ligaments, including the stabilizer muscles.Ligaments and tendons are strengthen at a slower pace compared to the muscles, which explains when lifting heavy why joint issues are a concern. Strength training allows the nervous system to make the muscles use the most force in collaboration with the skeletal system.

The article makes a mistake saying that basically a major hormonal shift would have to happen. The law of nature as they describe it has made women the reproducer of offspring. This means that either human beings would either just reproduce asexually or biological sex would disappear. Women could be stronger while having hormonal fluctuations  in progesterone and estrogen required to reproduce children. Strength between the sexes follows a bell curve. The average man has 10 kg more muscle mass and 40% more upper body strength. Although women are closer to men in lower body the percentage is estimated 33% as strong. These estimates are for men and women of various sizes. When the size is constant it estimated that women women can be 80% as strong. The reason why the estimate is not 100 % when the size is constant is due to the differences in the upper body. Men’s shoulders are broader meaning they can house more muscle on the section of the body. The writing does state women would have to increase skeletal structure to be strong and therefore would have to see in increase in growth. This means women would have to have broader shoulders. Bone density aids in strength.

Without those conditions women would not be stronger. There would have to be a change in physiology rather than endocrinology. The reason the athletic performance gap remains is due to this. Also, there are sociological factors that do hinder progress. Many women do not have the opportunity or access to training facilities. Living in a war zone or a society that does not give women the same rights can negatively effect their health. There also has to be a consideration that most of the scientific studies on exercise physiology are conducted on men. This does not tell us the full extent of women’s physical capabilities. What is known is extracted from sports records and other data. Since 1983 women’s sports records have remained stable.There is a 10% difference in athletic performance between males and females. Considering the anatomical and physiological differences between men and women that is relatively small. There is obviously a chance women’s records will improve. There could be individual women who reach high levels that revival their male counterparts. It may not impossible to say that women could become as strong as men, maybe not stronger. When examining cross sectional area of muscle between the sexes they seem to exert the same amount of force. The science of strength is still being explored and it is not know what the full extent of human limits are.

       If women were  did become stronger than men, it does not automatically men that that society  would become a matriarchy. Daphnie Fairbirin’s assessment is incorrect saying that it would also result in having men look after children. The reason human beings may not produce large amounts of offspring is because both the roles of the parents are important to the offspring. Unlike other animals the growth process for primates is slow. An infant is very dependent on their parents for food and protection. It is most likely the division of labor came about for ensuring the survival of offspring. Patriarchy is more sociological rather than biological. The rise of permanent settlement and property put women at a disadvantage. Framing also put the hunter gatherers at a disadvantage as well considering they could not make a food surplus. The whole basis of women being subjugated was not due to men’s greater strength, but the fact women did not have the same rights and opportunities. One problem was that women did not have control of their own bodies or lives. The rise of contraception and abortion have women more freedom than ever before. That is why reproductive rights are so essential to women’s liberation. Matriarchy is defined as ” a social system in which women hold the major positions of power.”  There have thus so far, never been matriarchal societies in pre-history or  the modern era. There has been cases of matrilineal  inheritance, but societies were still male dominated. There have been feminists who advocate some form of matriarchy to replace patriarchy. This theme has been common in feminist literature and was born out of cultural feminism in the 19th century. It found new life in power feminism. This faction cl;aims they want equality, but that is simply not true. They want a society were women dominate in which both the legal and political system favor them. To extent in the West, it seems to be moving that way in terms of alimony, child support, and divorce. The neoliberal capitalist system has indirectly caused conflict between the sexes in the labor force. Patriarchy is supported by a power structure through a social,legal, and political system. Equal rights and the rule of law can eliminate such disparities.

         There could be psychological changes in women that become physically stronger. Rachel Nuwer makes the mistake on relying on a ludicrous study by political scientist Micheal Petersen. His claim was that men with more upper body strength favored hierarchy and far-right political views. This claim seems false when analyzing the data. Their sample size included only hundreds of people from Argentina, Denmark, and the United States. African and Asian countries were not included. The researchers from the Aarhus University study found no link or correlation in women. This study is not really scientific at all. There is a link between political views, socioeconomic status, and ethnic background. The less educated and more closed minded individual tends to favor far-right views. Although left-wing politics would benefit the poor, they tend to favor right-wing views even though it could be detrimental  to them. Different ethnic and women may  favor either side of the political spectrum. What molds a person ideology occurs early in life and based around cultural or social factors. A child raised in a conservative or liberal home will most likely adopt those values. The body type does not influence thought, it is the sense of self. It would be silly to say that women who are physically stronger would be more conservative. The only demonstration of this study reveals is how people value artificial hierarchies.

    According that study this woman should be more conservative than this man. Assuming this would be ridiculous 

A ruling class justifies oppression by blaming awful conditions on the oppressed. Arguments range from biology to claims that the oppressed are just natural failures. Relevant to women, sex differences are used as a justification for unequal treatment and status. The differences do not indicate inferiority, but pseudo-scientific explanations have been used to make such statements. The idea that men are better and more powerful is enough to psychologically induce a sense of entitlement. Women who have engaged in some form of strength training say they are more confident. This new sense of self spreads to other areas of life. Gaining the full power of one’s body and skill gives women a new sense of independence. Women becoming physically stronger does not mean automatically they would be more aggressive. This theory proposed by the Aarhus University is nothing more than theories that were proposed by William Sheldon a psychologist in the 20th century. He attempted to correlate behavior to body type. Theories of constitutional psychology are discredited mainly because of its eugenic roots and inconsistent data. Although the term somatotype is still used in fitness and health circles, Sheldon classified mesopmorphs are being rugged, assertive, and dominant. Sheldon’s ideas were nothing more than an extended version of Francis Galton’s anthropometric studies.   There tends to be a false belief that if women gain too much power they will abuse it. Behavior is more complex from a psychological perspective. It is not just rooted in biology; there is a major sociological component.

         There is a difference in aggressiveness and competitiveness between the sexes. This is rooted in biological evolution and sociology. It is incorrect to say that men are just more naturally violent and women are more peace loving. Aggressiveness and competitiveness were defense mechanism in the evolutionary past. Early  hominins had to fight to either avoid predators and collaborate to survive the wilderness.These two traits are not exclusively male. Women can have aggressive behavior or be competitive depending on environment. If these traits are favored in a society, most living there will adopt it. It would be erroneous to say that the world would be more peaceful if women ruled the world. Female leaders have been known to favor war, just like their male counterparts. Margaret Thatcher favored the Falklands War, Condoleeza Rice was involved in the Iraq War, and Susan Rice advocated strikes in Libya. These women obviously did not have peace loving nature.

Hillary Clinton if she became president of the US would have followed the same aggressive war policy. Politics is a competitive environment and requires a level of aggressive thought. Women have shown that they can be just as calculating, deceptive, and skillful as men when it comes to political power. The reason why more women may not be in politics is because many may not be encouraged to have these ambitions. Even the most progressive societies still retain dated beliefs about women’s roles. The concept of the mother as the only identity a woman can have is still exalted. Women with “too much ambition” are seen as ruthless career-women. The same criticisms are not directed at men. An assertive and take charge woman is seen as either “difficult” or “overbearing.”  It is clear there are double standards and biases with in cultures in regards to women in power. The question doe not come down to either nature versus nurture. These two factors interact with one another. Sociobiology gives consideration to how natural selection influences behavior. Aggressiveness and competitiveness may be traits that were favored for human survival. At the same time excessive violence can lead to destruction of civilization.

             Violence has been a method to oppress many people. If women were stronger than men, it is not very likely violence against then would decline. Rape or domestic violence would not decline dramatically. Jackson Katz makes this claim who is president of MVP Strategies a company that works in developing programs for prevention of gender based violence. Mentors in Violence Prevention offers training and wants to change attitudes that promote such behaviors. Crime is a problem of every society, but it occurs for a reason. Violence against women is a means to forcibly put them back in a subordinate position. Organized mass violence is a phenomenon of civilization. When the first armed forces emerged the became the highest form of violence. While violence on an individual level is unacceptable ( one person murdering another), mass violence is embraced when it is controlled. Armies are an example of acceptable  mass violence , even when the actions are still murder.Women if they live in a society that does not value them will be subject to mass violence. The only way physical strength would be helpful is for basic defense, but if there is no legal or political protection this would be useless. Rape does not always involve an assailant physically beating  their victim. Alcohol or drugging of victims seems to be a common method of criminals of college campuses. What creates this atmosphere of sexual assault and violence is cultural attitudes. If society views women as nothing more than sex objects, this distorts men’s views of women. If the laws do not punish criminals or are lenient then it creates a system that works against women. Some observers calls this rape culture. While some points are legitimate, the feminist argument  that “men are taught to rape” lacks cogency. Calling this a rape culture may not even be the best description; it is a culture of misogyny. Saying that rapes would decrease if women were stronger is like saying murder would go down if more people owned guns. While a gun can provide some protection this would be negated if there were other with more or the same amount.

While this woman and man could be on the same level of strength that does not give an indication of who could be more likely to be abusive. 

Katz’s assessment is limited in terms of criminology. There is marital, acquaintance, and custodial rape. Women are not the only victims. Rape that occurs in prison does not receive that same amount of attention or outrage. There are different typologies of rapists. anger-retaliatory rapists and anger-excitation rapists are the most violent. Anger-retaliatory rapists use physical force to subdue their victims, while anger excitation rapists enjoy to a degree inflict pain on the victim. Power-assurance rapists use methods that are less physical such as drugs, stalking, or luring a victim into a place of vulnerability. Besides prevention or tougher laws, women and girls must be raised differently. Women must be taught self-defense. Girls are either taught to not assert themselves or defend themselves. Women often go around thinking ” I want to be with a guy who makes me feel safe.” Women are taught that men will protect them, when in reality they will probably be their primary abusers. This idea that women should entrust their physical protection to the men they know needs to change. Being proactive rather than just putting emphasis prevention could change the situation. Domestic violence should not be solely viewed as a women’s only problem. According to the article 19% of men report having been attacked by their partner. Women’s victim rates are higher,but physical strength is not the sole reason for that. The psychology of a partner matters. One who is overly dominant and demands compliance will most likely be more abusive. A sense of constant entitlement contributes to abusive behavior. Sexism and lack of gender equality are major factors in higher domestic abuse. There may never be completely accurate statistics on domestic violence, because victims are unwilling to seek help.

More Than 40% of Domestic Abuse Victims Are Male Report Says

The reason a person comes back to an abusive relationship and marriage  has to do with a person’s self-esteem. The victim feels as if they are nothing without the abuser. Then if they are financially dependent it makes separation more difficult. It is the unfortunate fact that through out history wife beating was not considered a criminal act. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries did countries begin to criminalize such a practice. There is a long tradition of men having authority over women, even in intimate relationships. Some men do not abuse women simply because they can; they are allowed and encouraged to do so. Only when there is a change in this system can violence against women can be reduced.

          There would definitely be a change in gender relations in regards to interpersonal associations. Women being stronger would alters dynamics in terms of amorous relationships.Men would have to use something other than strength to define their identity. This has happened in a sense, through their careers yet that is also not healthy. Work could be unfulfilling or not available depending on the state of the economy. This explains why men have more psychological distress when they are unemployed. Resources are a method of attracting the opposite sex and have replaced physical confrontation a means for competing for women like our hominin ancestors did. Strength would not replace physical attractiveness it would just become part of it. There are today women who are very physically strong and attractive . One the ways women were able to navigate male dominated societies was to use their feminine charm or sexuality  against men. Manipulation was a useful tactic for women who did not have political or social power. To an extent physical attractiveness gave women some form of bargaining power.  Now that their is a level of financial and social independence there has been a shift in gender relations.

Men are in the West and in particular America are struggling to figure out how to create a stable life for themselves in the changing  dynamic. If man is no longer a provider or father what purpose does he serve?  Women who are well off in terms of finance may be looking for stable relationships, but cannot establish one. Men and women are still functioning on dated gender roles even when society has changed. Even women of independence are still seeking a man to “take care of them,”   while men still think they need to bear all of the responsibilities and hardships  without complaint, even if it is deleterious.Status has become the main way of determining relationships. Selecting one’s partner was not a personal choice in the past. Most marriages were arranged and they still are some countries. Marriage was historically a property arrangement; marrying for love is a recent phenomenon. The lugubrious reality is that when one’s spouse earns more it does cause a level of tension. The problem is too many people view marriage as a subordinate follower and a dominant controller dynamic. Women who make more money in the marriage may generate jealousy from their husbands. If physical strength were added there would be conflict. There are men who think that women have taken something from them and physical strength is their last bastion.

 Feminism did challenge and defeat major injustices, but it also created some negative consequences. Radical feminism and third wave feminism in particular presented all men as enemies. The idea that women should just seek power and not equality has somewhat caused tension between men and women in America. Family law favors women over men and although this is a double standard women do not want this reversed. People who attempt to debate the third wave feminist rhetoric are either told they “hate them because they are successful” or vituperated. Men are unfortunately either not attempting to establish relationships with the talented women out there or simply becoming more misogynistic. This explains why certain men with a traditional mind set are obsessed with sports such as football, boxing, and MMA. There is a sense that women will never have an advantage in physical prowess. Yet, women are also part of the sports world and have received negative reaction from people who believe in strict gender roles. physical strength is not a male only attribute, but when it is shown in women, the reactions are very negative or hostile. Sports is no longer a male only domain. Women being strong or stronger would make some men who are insecure feel threatened. Even the men who may like such a change who have to make adjustments.

  The common held belief is that marriage is better for men. Women actually have more to gain from marriage than a man. It is very rare that a man could find a rich woman to marry and become a stay at home dad. Women on the other hand can be a homemaker and gain relative security. A woman has more options than a man who has to be a provider. The burden of family life is not shared equally. The most visible change in women being stronger would be the household labor. Women would probably be expected to do more manual labor based chores. However, there could be a change in how women and men select who they will marry or have a long term relationship with. Women who reach a certain status will not be with men of lower status. Normally, the insecure men try to find a woman who they can easily control. Men who attempt to seek companionship with women of higher status will most likely be rejected. Endogamy is powerful and the adage “true love conquers all” may not be  an axiom. It is rare to see a woman with a PhD dating a man with a high school diploma or a woman business executive dating a janitor. There are still conflicts about people dating outside their own race or religion. This partially explains why online dating sites are so popular. People can just answer questions in relation to their biases ( or preferences or compatibility in a more euphemistic sense) and find a match. Sadly, a physically strong woman most likely would not want a man weaker than herself. If women were all stronger than men, it would mean men would have to compete harder to get female attention. Men who either have to have higher earning power, achieve a level of prominence, or do an act of physical daring.

It could be that women would be the competitors for male attention. Men have to approach women if a relationship is to get started. Assuming that women being stronger did not change particular behaviors and customs certain procedures would remain the same. The most radical adjustment would be that husbands may not feel entitled to bossing around their wives. There would be a change in attitude may be not so much daily living.

         The workforce would be altered if women were stronger than men. There would be more women in physically demanding occupations. The reason there are so few women in these fields is not only due to discrimination, but physiology. Women do not have as much physical strength. There are women who can do such physically demanding jobs, yet the numbers remain low due to differences in physical fitness capacity. Construction, firefighting, law enforcement, the military, and sports are occupations in which men have higher employment numbers. If women were to have more strength they would probably be dominant in these fields. Rachel Nuwer does explain that women who are competent at their jobs still may face a glass ceiling. The reason is that a system will always favor the ruling group. It does not matter how skilled or educated the oppressed is. They will be stopped from advancing economically, socially, and politically. If affirmative action was enforced it could negate such issues. Technology has in a way allowed women to advance when they at a disadvantage in terms of muscle power. Yet, this does not explain why more women did not enter the workforce during the industrial revolution. Women who were of the working class got employment in factories such as textiles. The upper class women were restricted more so obeying the middle class values of the cult of domesticity. The reason women were not given equal pay was that it would cause working families to advance themselves and therefore no longer be subordinate to a ruling class. Oppressors do not favor social mobility and attempt to prevent it. Men did not like women working, because it was viewed as more labor competition and it gave women more independence. Now it seems that women are in many fields that were once thought to be male only.

There would probably be mixed sports competition if women were stronger than men. There would still be divisions by weight classes in some cases. The reason sports are divided by sex is due to men’s higher fitness level. This is done to remain fair, otherwise a large portion of women would be cut out of sport. It would be difficult to image men and women playing a tackle football game, but this is only a theoretical scenario. Although it may not change the sexist attitudes in sports culture. Women have proven they are skilled, yet they are either ostracized or disparaged by the media. Women have been a part of the sports culture since ancient civilization, however there are still some who view women of such strength and endurance as abnormal. This view has fallen out of fashion as cultural mores become liberal. If women became stronger than men at this point in history it may not be as important. As technology advances there is a possibility the human work force could be replaced by robotics. Automation and artificial intelligence  is the wave of the future and it will cause certain jobs to disappear. There is no way in which a human being could physically compete with a machine in a manual labor job.  It will not get tired, it will not demand pay or vacation.

 A Robot will not suffer health or attrition problems like a human.

The solution has to be a form of universal income and extensive job training to help world populations adjust to rapid technological advancement. The majority of the world population will have to get an education beyond high school and be devoted to life long learning. There will need to be skilled workers to make such machines or information technology. Women if they want to close the wage gap must go into fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They must also go into the physically demanding occupations as well. It seems that  brain power is more pivotal than muscle power.

       The text concludes that while women suddenly becoming stronger than men is more science fiction, there is some shift underway. Women are entering politics, science, and business. The one element that is missing is how women are entering the world of fitness and sports. There is a silent revolution in this regard. Women are embracing strength and transforming their bodies to their maximum. There were muscular women in the past, but none that were as impressive as seen today. More women are competing in the Olympics now than ever before. When the modern Olympics were revived in 1896 women were banned from competition.

Women compete in most sports in the 21st century. That does not mean there is equality in the sports world with the lack of media coverage. The interesting paradigm shift is that there is a growing male fan base for physically strong women. Social media and the internet have given women with such physiques more exposure. When contemplating  this shift one realizes these women are stronger than many men. It seems women have embarked on physical empowerment. This means having control of one’s body and learning physical skills. While society has not morphed into an Amazon matriarchy, it is clear that there are a portion of women have become stronger. Technology and science are also to thank for this development. Understanding anatomy and exercise physiology helped in designing training regimens for women. Exploring nutrition and diet also contributed. Supplements and vitamins have benefited women in terms of improving performance. It seems women have reached a stage in which they are developing themselves to the maximum both mentally and physically. Humans are still evolving either by mutation or epigenetic factors. It would seem impossible that women could get stronger than men. Although there is a strong possibility that women could each an equivalent level of strength through millions of years of  biological evolution. Even if there were to be a change it would not be immediately noticeable. The global trend seems to be shifting to a more sedentary lifestyle causing increased rates of obesity and heart related illnesses. BBC Future attempted to show how society would change based on speculation, but the assessments were off. One element is clear that society and civilization have always been changing. The status of women has not always been low, but has fluctuated through out time.

BBC Future: “What If Women Were Stronger Than Men ?”

What Military Recruiters Aren’t Telling Women: You’ll Face Disproportionate Health Risks

What military recruiters aren’t telling women: You’ll face disproportionate health risks

This is an op ed from the Los Angeles Times originally published July 25, 2017 discussing the possible health issues women could face in combat roles. While there are legitimate concerns the articles raises, it is clear that they are not supportive of women have such jobs. It reveals that the Defense Department is undergoing a campaign to increase women’s numbers in combat jobs by 10 %.  Targets may be difficult to meet based on certain physical standards that the majority of women may not be able to meet. This explains why women involved in sports and physical fitness activities are being targeted for combat jobs. They would have the physical strength and endurance to meet the fitness standards. The article claims that there has not been a precise study to examine the disproportionate health risks of women in combat and also implies that combat integration would be an awful idea. It cannot be ignored that there are physiological and anatomical differences among the sexes. However, these are averages and what the military is looking for is women with the proper qualifications. If the standards are set, training is done correctly, and male soldiers see their female colleagues as valued members women in combat can will work. There are solutions to possible health risks to soldiers.

      There is the obvious statement of facts in the article in regards to physiology and fitness. These are generalities and averages that are well know to any individual with an basic understanding of biology. The average male can produce more testosterone which allows for greater muscular hypertrophy. As stated in the by the authors “the average woman can possess 55% to 58% the upper body strength of men.”   The difference in endocrinology also effects the skeletal system making bones denser. Larger lungs and hearts as well as a different shaped pelvis means men run faster. The difference translates to 40 % greater aerobic capacity compared to women. These are averages of men and women, but there should be consideration for women who have attained a high fitness level. The average woman would obviously be at a disadvantage. The female athlete would not have such a problem. Weightlifters, swimmers, as well as  track and field athletes would possibly be overqualified for some of the physical standards. There are of course health risks from injury,but stronger women are more likely to endure.

If the average woman is seeking to enter such a physically demanding job, she will have to train prior to basic training. Seeing as there is a disadvantage in muscle power it will have to be built. If a woman does not take this step initially, injury in basic training could occur. This has to be approached from a practical  physical fitness perspective. The first question is can a woman get stronger through a training method? It is possible and it requires weight training. This type of exercise also builds muscle and bone in women. Doing this prepares the body for rigorous activity of combat positions. Besides sex, there are other factors that effect physical fitness potential. There is the current state of health ( weight and diseases), genetics, and somatotype. Women who have mesomorphic body types will find vigorous physical activity easier and will respond to a greater extent to training. A woman of endomorphic or ectomorphic body type may have to train harder to reach a fitness target. Genetics play a role in athletic potential. Women who trains on the same regimen as a man will not reach the same physical fitness level.

Muscular hypertrophy is greater in males compared to females.  

If we look at averages, many men and women who would be drafted would either have to go on a weight management program. A  portion of the American population is either obese or overweight. They would need to be trained extra to deal with this. they state that “no training system can close the gap.” While women’s strength level would not reach the highest performing male, they could meet standards through training. Women who strength taring for several months can expect to see a 20 to 40 % increase in strength. The only way this will happen is if women lift weights heavy enough to cause fatigue can build muscle. Lighter weights are better for building muscle endurance. Women as the article points out may have to use most of their maximum physical fitness capacity. It should be noted there are men who may not meet the fitness  requirements either. However, no one would question their ability to be turned into a soldier.

 Women depending on which armor unit they are in are required to lift 35 pound shells and carry 100 pound packs. This may seem like too much, but it depends on the anthropometric measurements of the woman in such a position. Lifting 35 pounds repeatedly would not be a problem for a woman who has trained in strength building exercises. A woman who is 150 pounds with low body fat could have an easier time than a woman who is 122 lbs.The more type II muscle fiber the more endurance women will have to the physical strains of combat. These types of muscle fibers during recruitment provide more explosive power. Women have these muscle fibers as well, not to the same extent as men. At the cellular level and in the process of muscular hypertrophy, there is no difference. Women can build strength; the real obstacle is increasing running speed. Despite being closer to men in the lower body, the shape of women’s pelvis would mean they would run slower.

Training does not change the structure of the pelvis in women. It is possible to increase women’s running speed. Training must be done in intervals to be effective. When training to increase distance one should run slower during training. Increasing speed would involve require shorter distances while running to build up endurance. This would from a physical fitness point of view would be more difficult than building strength. The gap in physical fitness may not be reduced. but it can be narrowed. The only information revealed by this data is that women in peak physical shape would be better performers in physical tasks. The average woman would struggle without training. This means women would probably still remain in small numbers in the marines and frontline infantry divisions. The most physically demanding combat occupational specialties even if they open to women may not have equal numbers. Just like construction, firefighting, and law enforcement women will make a small percentage.

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This explains the ads targeting women who are fit enough for such tasks. The challenge for women is the higher the intensity the more strain they will face. Close combat units as the article explains have the issue of irregular meals, sleep deprivation, and low intake of calcium and vitamin D. The access to these critical vitamins can be distributed to soldiers in their supplies. Carrying such pills would not be an extra burden in terms of supplies. There are means to prevent the conservation mode in women’s bodies. Menstrual cycles could cease  and the possibility of osteoporosis could increase. Stress fractures the article states is from conservation mode, but is really from over loaded gear. Yet they attribute that to the pelvic injuries, urinary tact injuries, and pelvic organ prolapse. Designing armor and gear to fit the female body form can reduce injury during training and in battle.  The US military has began designing such armor to fight this problem. Women must focus on upper body exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, and bicep curls to strengthen those areas. Soldier loads must be designed to be ergonomically efficient. This way soldiers will not be overloaded with gear hindering their mobility. Soldiers need armor that is strong, but does not reduce their speed. Even the strongest people can get injured if the place too much weight on their body.

This reveals why soldiers feel the health effects after service. The military is ignoring health issues and providing low quality healthcare. Women should avoid taking contraception thinking that it will enhance performance. There is a myth that the menstrual cycle reduces a woman’s physical strength and athletic performance. Women take contraception not to prevent birth in this circumstance, but think they will perform better. This comes to having accurate information about women’s bodies. Not using contraception except for what it was intended to be used for can prevent weight gain and loss of bone mineral density. To prevent such health problems it is critical to monitor soldier health and to make sure they are aware of possible health conditions .

         There is a general fitness issue of weight management that the text does not discuss. The American population struggles with either obesity or weight control. The data could be exaggerated if calculated on a body mass index scale, which has not always been the most accurate. According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey  66% of American adults are either overweight or obese. Then was an increase from 53% a generation ago. There could be numerous factors in the spike. Food labeling may not be completely honest and the use of high fructose corn syrup contributes. Foods with enormous amounts of sugar and fats also sabotage weight loss efforts. Then it could be difficult if one does have the motivation to lose weight. Some try multiple times and quit. There has to be an atmosphere of encouragement to change habits. Another problem is keeping the weight lost off. Weight issues do not only effect adults, but children and youth. What this means is that the majority of the population would not be physically fit enough to meet military standards. That means many Americans would have to lose weight prior to starting any form of basic training. Besides that, there has to be a paradigm shift in how people view exercise and physical activity. The problem is people see as a chore, rather than something fun or enjoyable. This is why physical education classes should be structured  in that manner. Not only will it teach children to be active,but it will  encourage life long healthy habits. Relevant to women there is a challenge. It is harder for them to lose weight. Higher estrogen production and differences in metabolism make explain this. Women can lose weight through the right methods. Diet alone will not be adequate; there has to be an exercise regimen to burn calories. What also must be done is altering women’s perceptions about fitness and physical activity. There still is the antiquated belief that exercise,sports, and physical activity or skill is male only. When women understand that their bodies are not biologically inferior, they gain more confidence in their physical skills. Doing this would make it easier for women entering the service. The American population has to get its weight issues under control if it wants to assemble a larger fighting force.

        This op ed does have an agenda. While it does not resort to outrageous claims as detractors of women in combat make, it does believe in the frailty myth. The idea that anything physical women will fail at. Physical skill or strength or occupations that require it are places that women are not meant to be in accord to those who believe in women’s biological inferiority. Julie Pulley a former army captain and Hugh P, Scott a Navy medical officer have credentials as military professionals, who wrote this op-ed. However, they do not offer solutions to issues of women’s health. Besides that, they ignore women who have excelled. There have been women who were physically capable, but at the time of their service combat jobs prohibited them. Alley Miesch Nie was a military service member. Looking at her photograph one would assume the 5’4 woman would not be able to handle combat or physical tasks.

blog_alley-miesch-nie_military_435x290  Despite a person’s gender bias the reality tells another story. At 141 pounds during her competitive career as an athlete she was able to 225 lbs  bench presses, 350 lbs squats, 800 lbs leg presses, and 325 lbs deadlifts. She clearly developed an impressive level of functional strength through training. Based on these statistics, how would Alley do on a particular MOS standard? These new standards are called “gender neutral” yet there is a problem with that. Using this terminology makes people think that standards are lowered for women. What it really means is that there will no longer be a fitness standard target that is lower for women. It means both men and women will have to be qualified physically depending on which occupation. The standards vary depending on the US Navy, US Army, and US Air force job. After basic training, the soldier can make the decision which MOS they want to go to.

  The year 2017 has brought some updated combat arms fitness standards. The biggest changes came to infantry and armor. The test will be in four parts. It wants to specifically target who would best fit in a particular occupational specialty. This new test is called the Occupational Physical Assessment Test which went into effect January 1st. It has only one scoring scare and adjustments are not made for sex or age. The marines did have separate standards which are now being formed into one fitness standard. It consists of four fitness events which include a medicine ball throw, standing long jump, deadlift, and interval run. The scores are classified based on the results of performance labelled in color codes . The black (heavy) score means a soldier is prepared for the physical demands. Significantly prepared is gray. The moderate range is gold, while the lowest score is white (unprepared). Soldiers who make the black category will qualify for all MOS in the US armed forces. All recruits must meet the gold category. Infantry, armor, and combat engineer are what would fall under the black category. The gray category would include tank mechanics and helicopter repair mechanics. Many combat jobs are under the moderate gold category ( army medical occupations ). Based on this information it seems that Alley would have no problem reaching the black category. Women with the least amount of fitness would fall into the unprepared category. The majority of women could fall into either moderate or some in the significantly prepared. If a recruit wants to really be part of some occupation specialty, they have to make sure they are physically prepared for the test. Another problem is that the height and weight standards will have to be adjusted.

Height        Min Weight            17-20            21-27               28-39              40+

58                 91                           119                 121                 122                 124
59                 94                           124                 125                 126                 128
60                 97                           128                 129                 131                 133
61                 100                         132                 134                 135                 137
62                 104                         136                 138                 140                 142
63                 107                         141                 143                 144                 146
64                 110                         145                 147                 149                 151
65                 114                         150                 152                 154                 156
66                 117                         155                 156                 158                 161
67                 121                         159                 161                 163                 166
68                 125                         164                 166                 168                 171
69                 128                         169                 171                 173                 176
70                 132                         174                 176                 178                 181
71                 136                         179                 181                 183                 186
72                 140                         184                 186                 188                 191
73                 144                         189                 191                 194                 197
74                 148                         194                 197                 199                 202
75                 152                         200                 202                 204                 208
76                 156                         205                 207                 210                 213
77                 160                         210                 213                 215                 219
78                 164                         216                 218                 221                 225
79                 168                         221                 224                 227                 230
80                 173                         227                 230                 233                 236

Alley because of her height would fall out of the required weight range. The ironic part is that she is not overweight. The body mass index does not account for a person who has vast amounts of lean body mass. So a woman who built up muscle would be denied the position based on the weight and height standards. The Marines realizing women were fit enough, but did not fall in the range of the body mass standards had to make a change. These standards have also effected men who just are bigger. The average Marine is bigger than in the past and this has not been accounted for. A muscular strong woman would then fall out the weight and height regulation. This would put shorter women at a disadvantage, because under the old regulations.

 The women are going to need the extra lean body mass they have built up. The maximum weight for a woman of 5’3 is 141 lbs. Short muscular women even if they are capable would then disqualified. There was the option of wavier, but this process was long and cumbersome. Women could have been reducing their physical optimum to reach the weight requirements. This only harms success. Another problem being addressed is unequal fitness standards. Women must not be given lower standards based on ideas they will perform worse. That means having them so the same exercises. One issue that arouse was three pull ups controversy in 2014. Most female Marines struggled doing three pull-ups. Detractors took that as evidence women could not meet the demands of combat. Yet, upon further investigation the problem became obvious. Women were for a long time doing the flexed arm hang rather than pull-ups. That exercise in particular will not build the most upper body strength. When women were trained to do such an exercise it was not a problem. The mass media focused on women’s failures rather than their successes.

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Women are going to need the physical strength and fitness  to be in combat positions.

The article admits “women are essential in America’s armed services” yet the author may not truly believe that. The most vocal opponents against women in combat come ironically from conservative and Republican Party groups and individuals. They have become the party of war and yet they are condemning women who enthusiastically  volunteer for service. This is why the constant slogan that they preach “support the troops” is disingenuous. The conservatives and far-right Republicans cite sex differences as evidence women are incapable or inferior in terms of combat qualification. The reality is that women have been in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan in unofficial capacities. The reason for misogynist rhetoric or behavior ( the Marine cell phone picture scandal) is that men do not want to compete with women for combat jobs. the irrational fear that women are going to take jobs away from men in the military is ludicrous. The policy of  military intervention in various nations around the world. There will be no shortage of jobs in the military. There may actually be a time in which there may not be enough men to fill these positions. It makes no sense to ban women who are qualified for a combat job. The article states that army recruiting sites or recruiters themselves do not reveal reports about the health risks. Anyone with a basic understanding or physiology or anatomy would realize physically demanding jobs to have an attrition rate. Physical attrition can happen from repetitive motion injuries and factors due to range considering the intensity of  activity. This may happen to women faster over the years. The male body may be able to sustain more trauma, but no person of sex is impervious to injury. The only solution is to reduce soldier load for ergonomic efficiency and let recruits know specific standards as well as the best methods for training. The US military must stop present the frailty myth as fact and having low expectations for women in combat positions.

        The evidence used to make the case women are not fit for combat must be questioned. The one text that they do mention “Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women” is credible but the authors do not mention the solutions given after the study. The 2011 report has general prevention of injury strategies that the US military is finally implementing. The solution that the report states is to have modifications in the training programs. Running mileage has to be reduced, because many injuries occurred from this. The training method should involve progressive and gradual exercise stress. The report notes that higher fitness levels mean less injury. The reason why the Brigade Combat Team placed a fitness standard for recruits to meet before training was to solve this problem of high injury rates. Women must meet the three push-ups, 17 sit-ups,  and run 10.5 minutes for one mile before they can go train for the BCT. The reason it should be done gradually is that the body must adapt to the level of intensity. The report also notes that progressive loading exercises are the best for strengthening the lower body muscles. The muscles that should be targeted are the soleus, gastrocnemius, quadriceps, hamstrings, tibialis (anterior and posterior), and gluteus medius. The report found a solution yet the authors of this op-ed do not share this information.

Some solutions are also the most simple ones. Women require better running shoes. Having the proper running shoes can allow for avoidance of knee, ankle, hip as well as the back. These running shoes should be comfortable reducing as much pressure on the foot as possible. Shoes should contain Achilles Heel relief, strong midsole, fexiable toe box,  and enforced cushioning. The toe box should provide plenty of room. These attributes of a running shoe help make the shock of running less harmful to the feet and legs. This is critical considering women’s different pelvic structure creates a more q angle. This also indicates that soldiers require shock absorbing boots. Having these will allow for less stress fractures and lower extremity injuries. “Musculoskeletal injuries in Military Women” provides prevention suggestions to common aliments that could befall female soldiers. A combination of exercise, training adjustment, and proper running shoes will vastly solve the problem of high injury rates in women. Core stabilization exercises are also recommended to women in the report. The rectus abdominis including the external and internal obliques must be strengthen to prevent spinal conditions.

The report also cites the treatment, diagnosis, and management of multiple injuries.Not only that, the 2011 report delineates proper rehabilitation from injuries.   A soldier must be aware of  lower back injuries, patellofemoral syndrome, Achilles tendinitis ( or tendinosis) , iliotibial band syndrome, ACL tears and other conditions can be prevented. The training will have to build up bone and muscle mass in women. If one reads the report thoroughly it is not arguing excluding women; it provides practical answers to the disparity in health for military women.The second source regarding women in combat the authors cite ” The Physiological and Medical Aspects That Put Women at Risk for Overuse Injuries.” The only information it provides is what could be deduced based on the 2011 report for the Army surgeon General’s office. Women have to use more of their maximum physical capacity to perform on the same level as men. The only conclusion is that women must build their core strength and upper body to lift the weights required for physically demanding combat jobs. Both of these reports show the health risks, but provide solutions, rather than using them for justifications for keeping women out of combat. They identify a problem and scientifically assess the situation and formulate a answer. The conclusion is to have women train first before attempting tests for combat positions. Physical fitness level before entry is pivotal to success. However, the text cites one of the writings of Marine Captain Katie Petronio who makes it clear that she does not favor women in combat. Most of her writings are specifically against women in the infantry. Her agenda seemed to support the conservative cause of preventing the ban from ending, but claimed on a CNN interview in 2012 : ” I’m not against women in combat.”     Then went on to explain “combat readiness is going to be effected by this.”Women who enter combat are not going to reduce combat readiness or efficiency, as long as they meet the same standards. Petronio claims that her two deployments two Afghanistan caused her health problems. The first was muscular atrophy and weight loss . The atrophy only happens when muscles are not in use. This could have been another medical issue not part of her combat experience. Sudden atrophy would indicate some form of multiple sclerosis or at least symptoms of it. She may not have had this, but it was clear that she was not training her body to maintain muscular strength.

This is Mina Mituskoa which shows her during her athletic career and after. As you can see her muscles atrophied after not doing intense training. 

When you stop exercising such gains will be lost. This happens faster with women, due to the difference in hormones. The extreme weight loss was probably induced by irregular meals. Such low body fat levels from irregular meals may have caused her infertility. Endurance issue could have just been caused by the extreme environment of Afghanistan. Maybe if her training were different, she would have been able to handle such rigors. The time in which she entered the new standards had not been established. The footwear and equipment has to be designed for the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Petronio has in a Phyllis Schlafly fashion promoted an anti-woman sentiment in the infantry. It is ironic that a woman is the one preaching such ideas. Citing her article for the Marine Gazette does not add to the image of providing an honest opinion.

The common health problems of stress fractures and spinal cord injury can be reduced by lighter loads and improving a recruit’s physical fitness level before entry. 

The numerous health risks are well know,especially the major one of death in battle. Those injured by gunfire, shrapnel, or suffer a traumatic brain injury are not mentioned in the text. Military recruiters do not tell the truth about the US. There is also a more pressing issue that has often been ignored rape and mental illness in the US military. Women face sexual violence from their male colleagues. Women also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Hardship and witness the carnage of war makes it difficult to adjust to civilian life.

        The military has another health crisis of rape and sexual assault. According to the Pentagon statistics reports of sexual assault have reached an enormous high. Service members reported a total of 6,172 cases in 2016. This does not account for the women and men who do not report attacks.  The Pentagon also reported that 58% of victims said they faced some form of reprisal for exposing their attacker. Sexual misconduct is ubiquitous in the armed services. Only recently has the US military taken action, but this may not be enough. Sex based violence is a threat to health and personal security of the women and men who serve. Many times commanding officers may be involved, but are not brought to trial by a civilian court. A military court is more likely to be more lenient. The only way this scourge of violence can be stopped is if punishments are more severe. The problem is not just in attitudes; it is institutionally based. The Marines have this problem with online harassment. It had to deal with a Facebook group known as “Marines United” which often spread misogynist and lascivious commentary about women in the armed forces. There is a hostile work environment that requires dramatic human resources action. If not, this will hinder military effectiveness and productivity overall. A culture of mistrust is growing at a period when it is required to function as a unified fighting force. There has to be a way to challenge the strange hazing culture that is present in the US military. This involves fraternity like antics, which involves the harassment of women. It is no secret that the US military has an unwritten policy of rape of the populations they invade. From World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War US soldiers have assaulted populations with sex violence. With Iraq and Afghanistan the numbers could be much higher. America now has a declining global image, due to the damage of aggressive and unprovoked war. The authors should realize this is just as much of a health risk to women as combat itself.

        Soldiers may leave the service without any physical injuries, but mental health can also be effected. Many soldiers are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. This could also put them at risk for depression. The challenge is there is still stigma surrounding mental illness. This is why  people do not seek the help they need. There is nothing wrong with a person seeking help. A study conducted by the US military revealed that soldiers have higher rates of mental illness than the civilian population. The worst case result after service is possible suicide. There are explanations for higher rates of mental illness among military personnel. It could be some had it prior to entry into the US military.  Data collected from the Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members revealed that soldiers had six times as high episode of intermittent explosive disorder. This is a mental disorder when rage cannot be controlled and impulse is difficult to manage. The study surveyed 5,500 soldiers. There is the possibility of multiple tours of duty causing the problem. Younger soldiers are more at risk for mental illness. The reasons could be that they become home sick, stressed, or do not have the emotional support system.

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The military must take into consideration what multiple deployments will do to military families. It is critical for a soldier’s well being to stay connected to friends and family.

There needs to be an honest description of the hardships that will follow military service. However, it is not the case of false advertising. Some people like the idea of danger and adventure as well as possible risk. They want to explore the world, but do not have the means to travel. The military in some ways provides that opportunity for some who are economically disadvantaged. The shock of being in a new environment and acclimating can be difficult. There are reasons for the suicides, which are elucidated by particular experiences. It has been known soldiers may be forced to do unspeakable and unethical acts that were ordered by their commanders. If if violates protocol or basic rules of warfare. The guilt and controversy will eventually get to people engaging in such acts. Killing one’s self is an escape from some from constant mental anguish. Soldiers and the military must realize that getting help or consulting someone is not weakness. The military trained soldiers to be tough and self reliant, but even the strongest people need emotional support.

       There are certain realities that the US military has to come to terms with. Women are going to be a part of the fighting force and resisting this change will only hinder operation. Just like African Americans becoming integrated into the US military it will happen. The US armed forces are becoming more diverse and represent the demographic shift in America. The US will have to reevaluate its foreign policy strategy.  Women have a harder time due to the fact their ability is put into question. The frailty myth or the idea women just cannot be physically capable is still disseminated through out the mass media. Conservative outlets are the most vituperative. Their argument is that “you don’t see women playing in the NFL.” War is more violent and complex that a football game. A sports event does not involve someone being killed or imprisoned after defeat. The only concern is if a female soldier is disarmed some how. A larger man would have the advantage of strength that she is fighting. This means they would have to be reliant on martial arts skills. Judo and Krav maga are effective fighting styles that can be useful for a person who is smaller.

This is why women must be given the same hand to hand combat training. Doing so ensures women can fight out a precarious situation if disarmed. However, just being physically strong does not automatically make you a great fighter. Limited skill and maladroit movements could be more of a hindrance. Although this is a sports analogy consider this : a hand to hand fight between a MMA fighter and a bodybuilder. The more muscular person may have more strength, but did not learn fighting techniques. The MMA fighter has knowledge of these and knows how to avoid hits. This could be a decisive factor in determining who wins.

 Each fighting style has its strengths and weaknesses. As we have seen from women’s mixed martial arts and boxing they do have the ability to fight. There is the question can a woman carry a wounded man off a battlefield if the situation calls for it. The requires a significant portion of upper body strength. Women can lift men with an understanding of leverage. The approach should be to have them practice casualty drags both without gear and with their armor on. Carrying a person without gear is easier, because there is no extra weight. Having women do both can physically prepare them for the demands.

There could be simple solutions to this problem. Detaching some of the gear and removing the person could be one. Dragging the individual by there shoulders could be another. Yet, there could be situations that require medical evacuation and moving the person could cause more harm. Women who are in this situation should be able to do just fine if the passed their tests and met proper qualifications. Thus the argument “women are not strong enough” seems to lack cogency. Even ones that are qualified still are questioned about their competence. Women who work in mostly male dominated professions have to work extra hard to prove themselves. One simple mistake can be a representation of the group, which demonstrates the general sexist atmosphere in these jobs. The US military has to challenge this culture of women being less than capable. The frontline has been burred with warfare becoming more asymmetric. So, women who go to other locations around the globe may see combat without having trained for it. Physical fitness is important, however technology negates this in some regards. Muscles are of little protection against tanks, jets, bombs, guns, drones, biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons. A physically fit military is essential, however a state must have the technology and tactics to ultimately triumph in conflict.  Other nations are also allowing women to serve on the frontline. The UK and India are now in the process of allowing women to fight in combat roles. It is only a matter of time before more countries start doing the same.

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Countries that allow women in combat. This was a map produced in 2013. This however does not include women who fight in an unofficial capacity .

There are women who fight in unofficial capacities. This could be in paramilitary groups, liberation movement causes, or other armed insurgencies. The peshmerga and YPG has female fighters operating in Iraq and Syria. The Kurds do not have their own state,but seem to be attempting to carve out one after the battle against ISIS ends. It is clear that women will be a part of that fight as well. The Tamil Tigers also mobilized women in war during the civil war in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009. FARC  when it was fighting the Colombian government did the same. These places were not states so that is why on the data of women in combat. It seems more women are involved in combat than previously thought.  A majority of Northern European countries allow women in combat. Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

It seems people if inspired enough will pick up arms if they deem a cause worthy. Women who are born in countries with less resources do not have the same the training as the US military women and still fight effectively. There is no reason that women in the US cannot do the same. The biggest question is how physically strong can a woman get in order to meet the qualifications of certain military occupational specialties ? A sample from women’s weightlifting  scores could provide a hypothesized answer. The women who fall in a fitness category of advanced and elite would be more likely to handle more manual labor compared to the beginner or intermediate fitness level. This may complicate implementing a draft. Women would take longer to reach fitness targets.

female-strength-chart

The only solution is too either adjust the total goal target of the number women you want to serve or have a fitness program in place. This can be done, but another issue must be addressed. Women should register for the selective service. The fact that one preaches equality means that you also accept the responsibility that comes with it. Men do not have a choice, because they are forced to register. The option of being a conscientious objector is available, yet this may be ignored by a military that is becoming more desperate for a victory in a series of failing military engagements. There should be no objection from any advocate for women in combat to reject women being part of the selective service. By this same line of reasoning, this is not license to end a volunteer army system. So far, it has worked well sense the end of the Vietnam War and allowed  for higher skilled and higher paid positions to become available. Americans will not tolerate being drafted for wars that are either imperialist in objective or futile in execution. The point the US military is for security. The United States is more and far beyond capable of defending itself. Most of America’s military engagements have nothing to do with security at all. They either advance a business agenda or a geopolitical strategy of keeping America as the world’s sole superpower. Americans have been taught that its military fights for freedom and human rights when this is a fabrication. If there is a concern about military recruiters being extremely dishonest, this is the part that should also cause concern.

            There have been exaggerated claims that allowing women in combat will result in failure in US military operations. Women entering combat will not do this, because the US is continued a path that could lead to major social and political issues. Take the role of policeman of the world has caused much anger and distrust of the US throughout the world. The end of the Cold War gave the US immense power which it has abused. Without the Soviet Union,there was little justification for a large military. This did not stop interventions in Somalia, Iraq, or Yugoslavia. NATO and the US struck Kosovo not for humanitarian reasons,but to dismantle Yugoslavia further. Civil war and ethnic conflict was already tearing the country apart, intervention by other Western European nations furthered the disintegration. The US wants to maintain global hegemony even if it conflates into wider regional conflicts. China and Russia are clearly world powers and the US sees them as a threat. This may not be the case, if diplomacy was utilized. Instead there is a network of shadow wars and wars of proxy occurring between the US, China, and Russia. All these powers use the false narrative of fighting the War on Terror as a justification for reducing freedoms or initiating wars. North Korea, Ukraine, and Syria are countries that find themselves caught up in the nexus of wars of proxy. The United States must accept the that the world is moving to a multipolar  world power system.Military recruiters will never be honest about what America is really doing. They will never tell of the numerous atrocities, corruption in the Department of Defense, or the neoconservative war agenda for various countries. To say that women are being more so manipulated by being recruited for certain jobs is no more exploitative than any other aspect of the US military. Opening combat roles to women in a way was a public relations technique to improve the image of the US military. lost wars, war crimes, and the abuses of the military industrial complex have tarnish the institution’s image. Maybe a new generation of  leadership in the US military can reverse this. Women should not seek to be just combat soldiers; they should also aim to be generals of the highest rank.

Women should become part of the leadership and maybe with new perspectives some problems can be addressed from a different approach. There has to be also a change in political leadership. The system of world politics should adopt another mode of operation. There should not be preparations for war, rather a sustainable peace. All nation-states are guilty of competing with one another for military dominance of the globe. There are nations that carve out and become power centers in a particular region often bullying smaller nations. On a larger scale world powers bully the entire globe. The US-EU block has done such actions to Libya, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria. It has to be understood that liberal democracy or another governance system cannot be imposed upon people. The US military is an apparatus for security, not nation building. A complexus of skilled diplomacy can prevent war; intervention should be the last resort. These ideas are practical, but with more women and others joining the US military the possibility of peace seems hopeless.

           There were rumors that Donald Trump was going to reverse the Obama era measure allowing women in combat. It has not happened, but there is a possibility. He has already targeted transgender service members  who do not make up much of the US military. Blatant acts of discrimination are common in  America. Even if the individual is qualified hate and the status quo is favored. There are numerous examples that show women are capable.

Although women have proven that they can be capable, there will always be doubts and hatred directed at them for being in jobs that were male only. If combat integration is to be successful there has to be a massive human resources effort. Sexual harassment and assault should be punished quickly and severely. The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs must work to provide a higher standard of healthcare . Veterans too often are not getting high quality care that should be every citizen’s right.If not the US could face a major public health crisis. Soldier health should incorporate mental and physical well being. While there is a movement to improving the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, the care in regards to PTSD and depression are not adequate. Military recruiters should be honest about the health risks and the challenges involved. Honesty about the military should not discourage individuals with a strong desire to serve. Women should not be discouraged from serving just as long as they know what they are signing up for. A military health maintenance program can solve certain problems and reduce medical discharges.

Further Reading

  Reuters. “Sexual Assault Reports in U.S. Military Reach Record High: Pentagon.”NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 1 May 2017, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-reports-u-s-military-reach-record-high-pentagon-n753566.

Healy, Melissa. “As Obesity Keeps Rising, More Americans Are Just Giving Up.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2017, http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-fewer-americans-diet-20170308-story.html.

Myers, Meghann. “New in 2017: New Fitness Assessment to Go Combat Arms.” Army Times, Army Times, 18 Oct. 2017, http://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2016/12/19/new-in-2017-new-fitness-assessment-to-go-combat-arms/.
Willingham, Val. “Study: Rates of Many Mental Disorders Much Higher in Soldiers.” CNN, Cable News Network, 4 Mar. 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/03/health/jama-military-mental-health/index.html.
What Military Recruiters Aren’t Telling Women: You’ll Face Disproportionate Health Risks