Wendy Tapia was recently made a New York City firefighter. She took the requisite courses and graduated from her program, then was placed at a firehouse. So far, so unremarkable. Until the rest of the story is laid out. Tapia was welcomed to the NYFD without passing one of the final tests. All graduates are required to run a mile and a half (without their gear) in 12 minutes. To date, Tapia hasn't been able to complete this run.
Tapia has given a few different excuses, but after failing FIVE TIMES, they are all hard to buy. She claimed a respiratory infection and then a foot injury. Clearly something is going on, because the higher-ups put her on medical leave immediately after she was placed on the job. Whatever's up, it makes every single woman who wants to be a firefighter look bad, like it or not.
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I wouldn't consider myself an athlete -- I'm overweight and have the bare minimum amount of hand-eye coordination required for things like walking. But I do go to the gym three times a week, and I could run that test-race no problem. So what's Tapia's problem? More importantly, why do her bosses keep letting her try and try in spite of how it makes the entire department look? I think everyone should be given a fair shot always, but the fact that they might be turning a blind eye to someone not fit for the job isn't feminism -- it's concerning.
I'm not the only person who feels this way. In fact, there are ladies a whole lot better qualified than I am speaking out about it. A female firefighter spoke up against Tapia in the New York Post:
I don’t know how she got to graduate. It never should have happened. You should not graduate if you can’t meet all the requirements -- male, female, black, or white.
The Fire Department said in a statement that Tapia would be re-tested due to her illness. They didn't explain why she was allowed to graduate at all. They also didn't explain why since her employment in May, she hasn't worked a single shift. Something dodgy is going on, and it makes every woman fighting for her right to pursue her dreams of serving her community look bad.
Do you the Fire Department is being fair or trying to be politically correct even if it could cost lives?
Image via igb/Flickr