Students in the Chinese city of Wuhan protested outside the Human Resources and Social Security Department on Monday against the requirement that women who apply for civil service positions in China have a gynecological exam as part of the screening process.
Ten university students carrying signs denouncing the exams and wearing large underwear that had “examine” written on the front and crossed out held a demonstration outside the government building. The exams have been required of applicants since 2005 and require that women have an invasive gynecological exam to check for STIs and tumors. Women are often asked to give information on their menstrual cycles as part of these exams.
One of the protesters told local reporters, “We believe that pelvic exams have little connection with the duties of civil servants, and they violate the privacy of citizens. Through this demonstration, we call on government departments to drop the examinations.” Another protestor who is currently a medical student say there is no reason for exams because STIs would not be spread through daily work tasks and “even more serious STIs, like syphilis, can be detected through blood tests.” Many legal scholars in China have stated that the policy could possibly be in violation of Chinese labor and employment law.
Civil service is one of the most competitive job markets in China. Approximately 1.12 million people took the civil service exam, and only 21,000 will receive a position with the government.