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COURT RULES AEROBICS TEST TO BE DISCRIMINATORY

In a decision with implications for police, firefighting and armed forces across the country, Canada's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an aerobics test that disqualified a female firefighter was discriminatory.

The unanimous verdict strikes to the heart of the argument of whether strenuous physical requirements should be different for women to allow more of them into traditionally male-dominated areas such as the military or railways.

The court said most women have lower aerobic capacity than most men, and such a fitness test would, therefore, unfairly discriminate against them unless it can be shown to be necessary to fight fires safely.

Real equality, it suggested, does not necessarily mean treating people equally.

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