Job-seekers in Wuhan protest government-imposed gynaecological tests

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 11:43am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 2:20pm

A medical student in China’s central Hubei province, identified by China’s Legal Daily  as Xiaochun, was astounded when she was asked about her first menstruation during an interview for a civil service job.

What also baffled her was a series of gynaecological exams imposed on her and other female candidates, besides the standard physical examinations required for both genders.

One of the required tests was a “vaginal inspection”, a procedure in which doctors visually examine women’s vaginas and cervices, also used to collect cervical cells necessary for Pap smear tests.

To be an eligible applicant for a national civil servant job, women were also required to reveal information including the age they got their first menstruation periods, its cycle and volume.

Outraged by the absurd tests, Xiaochun and her fellow students protested on Monday outside the Human Resources and Social Security Department in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, reported China’s Legal Daily on Tuesday.

A photo posted online showed seven young women strapping on a “no-test” apron standing outside a government building.

They held signs that read: “Say yes to government jobs; say no to gynaecology tests”; “Questions about my menstrual periods have nothing to do with my qualification.”

Xiaochun, who is studying in Wuhan, said the physical exams were irrelevant.

“Even if women carry sexually transmitted diseases, their colleagues won’t get infected under normal circumstances,” she said. “And it doesn’t make the women less capable of performing their daily duties.”

“These tests are hidden discrimination against women applicants,” said Professor Han Guijun at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan.

Han said that government had set a bad example for private sectors, which might introduce similar policies in the future.

The story drew thousands of comments on China’s micro-blogging service, Sina Weibo.

“Looks like leaders no longer need to worry about the health conditions of female underlings they sleep with in the future,” said one netizen, referring to the Chongqing sex tape scandal that led to the downfall of an official .

“I strongly demand the government include special exams for men, since we have so many female leaders now,” said another Weibo user in a sarcastic tone.