Julie Borowski
May 6, 2015

Over at Right Wing News, there’s a story about a young woman who is about to become a FDNY firefighter without passing the required Functional Skills Training (FST) test.

According to the New York Post,

In the FST exam, probies must breathe through a mask attached to an air tank while carrying up to 50 pounds of gear.

They must climb six flights of stairs, stretch hose lines, raise ladders, perform tasks that simulate breaking doors and pulling down ceilings, and drag dummies through tunnels with no visibility.

They must complete the course in 17 minutes, 50 seconds or less.

The young woman couldn’t complete the job-related obstacle course in that allotted amount of time. She only completed the course once after multiple attempts and it took her 22 minutes.

She failed and she shouldn’t be graduating.

This shouldn’t be about sparing feelings.

Look, nothing against her personally. Being a firefighter clearly isn’t for everyone. It’s physically demanding work. A firefighter who doesn’t meet the stringent physical standards could put other firefighters and civilians in harm’s way.

This comes at a time when the fire department is under pressure by Mayor de Blasio to hire more women. They have even gone so far as making the FST test easier to avoid sex discrimination lawsuits.


This is the opposite of the equality that feminists claim to support. The test should be the same for everyone. Women should not get special treatment because fires don’t care about your gender.

What’s more is that this is a slap in the face to qualified female firefighters. Women in male-dominated fields already have to work harder to prove themselves. They have to go above and beyond to show that they deserve the job and got hired based on their merits and not their gender.

In other words, they don’t want their male colleagues to assume that they’re an affirmative action hire.

It doesn’t help them that the FDNY is hiring women who, frankly, aren’t capable of performing the job because they didn’t pass the test. I’m sure the 44 female firefighters in New York City aren’t too pleased about their work being devalued.

Physical fitness tests are not sexist. It is sexist to hire someone based on their gender, though.

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