A female soldier triggered a rebellion among male troops because she was allowed to continue on an Army selection course even though she failed one of the vital fitness tests.
Following the decision last year to let women join combat units and Special Forces, Corporal Daisy Doughtery was hoping to become one of the first female infantry instructors in the Army. She was required to prove her fitness in the first stage in the selection process by completing an 8-mile march in under two hours over rough terrain and while carrying their pack.
The 29-year-old, even though a qualified personal fitness trainer and a member of the Army’s athletics squad, took too long to finish the challenge, and she should have been ejected and sent back to her unit under the course rules.
Dougherty was the only woman on the course, and she and 14 other challengers who failed were told that they were able to carry on. However, it sparked a furious rage among the 75 soldiers who had already passed the test, and they accused the commanders of lowering the standards to suit women. They claim that it was a case of “positive discrimination”, and they claimed that it was written in black and white on the course’s handbook that if you fail the march, you are immediately pulled off the course. They were angry that the commanders wanted to get Dougherty through the course “at any cost” just because she was a woman, and that meant that that leniency had to be shown to the weaker male soldiers who failed the test as well.
So, fearing of a public backlash, the commanders asked Dougherty and the other soldiers who failed the test to leave.
When the announcement that women could join infantry regiments were published last year, it was said by the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson that the standards will not be relaxed for females, and they would have to be as fit as male soldiers.
Tim Collins, a former SAS commander said that the Army had a tough choice to make: they would either have to abandon their ability to complete difficult military operations so they can fall into line with political correctness, or they would have to accept that there are some things that females biologically can’t do.
It’s still unclear if Cpl Dougherty will try to tackle the PSBC course again, and she has now returned to her unit in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps.