Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Fun With Misleading Numbers...

A recent (May 12) UPI piece asserts that “ONLY 4% of U.S. firefighters are female, despite almost half of female firefighter candidates passing physical ability tests,” according to their cited study.

In EVERY locale in this country Fire and Police Departments give standardized written and physical exams to create “eligibles lists,” from which to choose their workers.

Thousands of the tens of thousands of applicants who take those exams, pass those exams, but only the hundreds of candidates at or near the top of those lists, based on those competitive exams have any chance of being hired.

In point of FACT, thousands, probably tens of thousands more men pass those exams and do not make the “eligibles lists” then women, but no one seems to be shedding a tear for them.

No one has yet made an argument that such competitive exams create “an undue barrier against women and some ethnic minorities.”

Disparate impact has been discredited in the courts as a “measurement of discrimination.” The fact that a given group does less well on a given exam proves nothing about that exam.

In fact, given that the Grand Valley State University's Human Performance Lab recently studied numerous physical performance parameters between males and females and found that in, “upper body lifting (Men= 1.45 + 0.2, Women= 0.78 + 0.13), men had significantly higher strength to body weight ratios for upper body strength, while there were no differences in lower body strength relative to body weight...This relationship was the same when computed against lean body weight...These results indicate that men have significantly more upper body strength than women, would seem to indicate that 4% may be much “better than expected” given the data on male/female strength differentials.

For the Human Performance Lab Study SEE:


heidianne jackson said...

as the daughter of the first female fireman in maryland, i am not surprised by these tactics. back when i was a kid, i lived in an area where all fire and rescue services were volunteer but there were standards that had to be met.

my father and a guy named ray stucky were in charge of fireman training for the state of maryland - paid or volunteer, made no difference, you had to take the three classes (yes it was a LONG time ago) and pass a test. i remember one time when the bulk of the guys in the class failed, my dad made my older sister and i sit through the classes and take the test - we passed.

any way, my mom was an e.r. nurse and decided she wanted to join the rescue squad, thinking she'd be uniquely qualified. however, the men at the firehouse didn't want any women there and a county-wide edict was created saying that no one could belong to the rescue squad who wasn't a member in good standing of the affiliated fire company.

needless to say, my mother (deathly afraid of heights though she was) gathered up her full 4'11.5" of height and said "bring it on". took her two attempts to pass the practical exam on the ladder truck, but she made it.

soon after there were more than 50 women in the county firehouses and rescue squads. and it was probably less than 1% of the entire "force"...

sorry to ramble.

heidianne jackson

JMK said...

That's precisely it, Hedianne!

There ARE indeed women who can do these jobs...and those women can meet the original standards as meted out. There's no reason to eliminate or even lower the standards, as standards themselves discriminate ONLY against those who failed to properly prepare or lack the most basic requisite skills.

Standards are vital and every employer (including Municipalities) have the fact, the DUTY to hire the best qualified applicants first, not merely "the minimally qualified."

In NYC we currently have a dual "war on standards." The Vulcans (the black fraternal organization) is fighting the written standards, claiming "they discriminate against blacks," while some women's groups are fighting the physical standards, claiming the emphasis on upper body strength "discriminates against women."

Indeed there are some in government who advocate for a lottery type system without anything more than a most rudimentary pass/fail written and physical.

In that instance, the people being short-changed, are government's CUSTOMERS (again)'s taxpayers, who are being denied the best qualified applicants for these jobs!

American Ideas Click Here!