The sort of affirmative action we tend to see in our daily lives tends to be around the level of a sigma or so----roughly around the magnitude of the difference between the white and black mean level of intelligence.
But authorial affirmative action is far larger than this---it is easily 3 sigmas, maybe even more.
The marine infantry officer training is very very hard. Apparently only those who are already exceptional in physical and mental endurance take it, and even among that population, about 1/6 of them fail it.
It has recently been opened to women, and volunteers were solicited for it. 2 women lieutenants in the Marines stepped forward, aspiring to be the first women Marine Infantry officers.
What can we reasonably infer about these 2?
They're probably more exceptional relative to the female population of marines than the average male candidate is relative to the male population of marines. That's probably a sigma at least right there. If male marine infantry officer candidates are typically drawn from the 'Second Sigma' of male physical ability, it is likely that these two were from the Third Sigma, maybe even the Fourth, of female physical ability.
They're probably also likely to get the 'benefit of the doubt', at least in any 'coin toss' sorts of deliberations. What instructor is going to risk his career by being perceived to be 'unfair' to them?
But both of them washed out.
From this, and a lot of other evidence, we can conclude that the difference between the male and female distributions is on the order of 3 sigmas at least.
So, when an author places male characters around the +4 sigmas relative to the male distribution, and then places women who are competitive with them in the same capabilities, that author is engaging in authorial affirmative action of insane proportions. GI Jane---indeed. There do in fact exist women who are stronger than an average man, but they are few and far between. Women stronger than men in the 'Second Sigma' of physical ability are pretty much Olympic quality, and women comparable to men at the NFL level (generally in the 5 sigma ballpark), basically don't exist.
But you'd never know that from watching television or movies. For God's sake, the MSM arm of the Cathedral has convinced most of the population that a quarter of the population is gay.