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Chinese Women Protest at Gynaecology Checks for Civil Service Jobs

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- 1996 days ago -
Invasive tests, gender inequality and job discrimination are rife in China, but female activism is increasing

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JL A (281)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 1:08 pm
Chinese women protest at gynaecology checks for civil service jobs

Invasive tests, gender inequality and job discrimination are rife in China, but female activism is increasing

Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing, Wednesday 28 November 2012 11.19 EST

china women protest
Chinese students in Wuhan, Hubei province, protest against invasive gynaecological examinations imposed on all women applying to join the civil service. Photograph: ndnews

It was a modest protest: about 10 university students in winter coats, waving placards near a government office in the central Chinese city Wuhan.

Yet the reason for the demonstration was shocking. The students were protesting against a requirement that women applying for civil service jobs must undergo invasive gynaecological examinations.

The demonstrators in Wuhan have joined a growing chorus of Chinese activists who, despite the government's hard line on public protests, have shone a harsh light on China's deep-rooted gender inequality and job discrimination.

"Gender discrimination is very widespread and in many senses institutionalised in China," said Geoff Crothall, communications director for the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin. "What's been increasing in the past few years is the number of women in social and civil society activism groups who are standing up and demanding change."

A picture of the protest on Monday, which appeared in the state-run Legal Daily newspaper, shows seven women standing outside a provincial government office, arms crossed defensively. They wear what look like giant underpants, each emblazoned with the Chinese character meaning "examine" struck through with a red line.

The regulations that provoked the protest have been in force since 2005, and require women applying for civil service jobs to undergo invasive testing for sexually transmitted diseases and malignant tumours. Applicants have also been asked to provide information on their menstrual cycles.

"Through this demonstration, we call on government departments to drop the examinations," one of the protest organisers told the Legal Daily.

In March, the Beijing-based non-profit social justice group Yirenping Center sent an open letter to government agencies including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security protesting against the gynaecological examinations, but it received no reply.

"Sexually transmitted diseases can't be transmitted at work, so we think it's unnecessary to test for them and the tumour examinations, these are unnecessary as well," said Huang Yizhi, a lawyer with the centre. "If I'm going to the hospital in order to find work, is it really necessary to examine so many things, even those relating to my extremely private parts?"

Over the summer, activists in the southern city of Guangzhou protested against a lack of female public toilets by "occupying" mens' stalls. Officials in Guangzhou announced that they would adopt a fairer ratio for new public toilets, but similar protests in Beijing were suppressed.

Elsewhere, about 20 women across the country shaved their heads in a quiet protest against discriminatory college admissions standards. Some university departments have demanded higher admissions exam scores for women than men, ostensibly to balance enrolment ratios. The education ministry approved the practice "in view of considerations of national interest", it said.

On Sunday, an all-time record 1.12 million people took the notoriously difficult civil service examination, according to the China Daily; 150,000 more than last year. As China's college-educated workforce grows, secure, high-status jobs such as government posts are becoming increasingly competitive.

"Civil service examiners can often get away with these absurd requirements, because there's such a high demand for civil service jobs," said Crothall.


Gerry W (0)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 1:38 pm
This check has nothing to do with applying for a job. Better to check for TB or communicable diseases.

Sue Matheson (79)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 1:45 pm
hope things work out for them.

Ellen G (325)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 4:56 pm
This is ridiculous

Ellen G (325)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 4:57 pm
Oops. submitted my previous comment to fast

It is about time women all across the world start taking a stand.

Rebecca S (61)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 5:33 pm
I recall someone online once mentioning having to get a gyenecology exam for work (I think she was in the US), and I found the whole idea rather odd. I see no reason as to why any employer would require its employees to get a gynecology exams. Frankly the information of the exam is no ones business but the individual and their gynecologist.

JL A (281)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 5:46 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Ellen because you have done so within the last week.

Roger G (154)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 12:52 am
noted, thanks !

JL A (281)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 8:36 am
You are welcome Roger!

Dorothy N (63)
Monday December 3, 2012, 12:37 pm
I'm now wondering if the GOP/vulture capitalists have invested in the Chinese government... sure sounds like their trademark, although perhaps it's only what teapot tyrants have in common...

JL A (281)
Monday December 3, 2012, 12:52 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Dorothy because you have done so within the last week.

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday December 3, 2012, 1:21 pm
So good to see these women fighting for their rights. Hopefully their numbers will grow quickly. Thanks, J.L.

janet f (29)
Monday December 3, 2012, 1:29 pm
WTF could they possibly be looking for?

JL A (281)
Monday December 3, 2012, 1:42 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Lois because you have done so within the last week.

Kathlene Lentz (30)
Monday December 3, 2012, 5:03 pm
Shocking, even for China!

JL A (281)
Monday December 3, 2012, 5:08 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Kathy because you have done so within the last week.

Rin S (10)
Monday December 3, 2012, 7:12 pm
I wish the best of luck to these protestors. Incredibly shocking.

Sara Williams (8)
Monday December 3, 2012, 11:23 pm
This is absolutely ludicrous. What is it about men in power wanting to control women's lives so much right down to the incredibly personal like this? It's so obviously unnecessary and I sincerely doubt the men applying for these jobs have to do any similar kind of testing. These men are sick to want this done to women. Good for these women for daring to raise their voices in protest.

JL A (281)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 7:04 am
Shocking is a good word Rin.
You make excellent points Sara!You cannot currently send a star to Sara because you have done so within the last week.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 10:42 am
Why is it that China has such an appalling record in human rights, animal abuse and now hearing about this
What has any of these things got to do with working for the civil service I hope all the women rise up there
Just dont know how the west can be so friendly with a country that has such an appalling record with everything beats me

Helle H (21)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 11:02 am

JL A (281)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 12:32 pm
Best guess Carol is it is about money and power.

valda p (13)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 2:49 pm
There are no rights for -humans -or animals in that -hell hole -China.

Lynne Buckley (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 8:59 am
Disturbing. Time for things to change.

JL A (281)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 9:41 am
You cannot currently send a star to Lynne because you have done so within the last week.

Deborah L (70)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 12:03 am
Well, I wonder how long it will be before the Republican Tea Party decide to do this to try and humiliate women even more than they have with the famous "Transvaginal Ultrasound Probe ?"

Seems that the GOP has been working to eliminate women from the workforce with some of the ridiculous law like in Arizona where an employer can fire you of you use contraception pills for contraception and if you use them for another reason, you must obtain a note from your doctor why you are taking these pills. It is like women are brainless nothing that have to have permission to take the medicine your doctor orders for you. Your employer should have no right to fire you if you use contraception, it is none of their business what meds a person takes as long as it does not hinder your job preformance.

It is time to leave womens bodies to the women who own them and not some politicians, religious leaders or just plain old busy bodies from controlling the most private (well, it should be), personal and intimate parts of womens bodies that do not belong to them.

Hartson Doak (39)
Friday December 7, 2012, 9:34 am
I agree with Lara. This is outrageous.

JL A (281)
Friday December 7, 2012, 11:35 am
It truly does engender outrage Hartson. You cannot currently send a star to Hartson because you have done so within the last week.
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