Female soldiers can withstand extreme stress at least as well as men

Sessvollmoen Female soldiers mixed dormsCandidates at Joint admission and selection camp at Sessvollmoen being tested in ice cold water. Photo: Marthe Brendefur / Forsvaret (Norwegian Army)

More and more women are entering the Armed Forces. A study has shown that female soldiers resist physical stress at least as well or better than males.


Although the study was only performed with 23 male and 12 female soldiers, it was done during a tough ‘hell week’ for the Jager and Parachute troops in the Armed Forces Special Command, reported NRK news.

The preliminary results showed that women tackled both the exercise and the recovery phase, and that while men lost more weight than women, they also spent more time recovering explosive strength in their legs.

While men lost an average of 2.7 kilograms of muscle mass over a week, women lost only fat, showined the preliminary results in the study which was conducted by the Norwegian Defence Research Institute (FFI).

‘’Women showed superior fat burning during activity. This may be beneficial during long-term exercises or operations. Women have more available body fat, so they do not start to burn muscle,’’ said FFI researcher, Hilde Teien. She thinks this is good news for those who want more women in the Armed Forces.

Colonel Lieutenant Harald Høiback, who previously said that women in the Armed Forces weaken combat readiness, was not impressed with the results, calling them “moderately interesting” for an operational chief.

He pointed out that the female soldiers did not go through the same shooting tests as the males, and that no women has so far finished the shooting tests for the parachute squad.

“If women were exposed to the same trials, they weren’t exposed to the toughest demands,” said Høiback.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today