A new contentious law in Brazil‘s most populous state, Sao Paulo is forcing Brazilian women seeking teaching jobs to undergo virginity tests.
Prospective education employees are required to undergo a pap smear to prove they are free of cancers or to present a doctor’s certificate verifying they are not sexually active.
The move tells the UK’s dailymail has led to women’s rights campaign groups denouncing the mandate as a gross violation of women’s privacy and their human dignity.
Until recently the education department also required women to have a colposcopy – a type of gynecological examination used to detect disease.
The department since at least 2012 has required the exams to show that candidates for long-term teaching positions are in good health and would not take extended or frequent absences to attend to health matters.
Critics, however, decried it as an invasion of privacy, with many telling the practice objectifies women and goes beyond the call for duty and what an employer ought to know about an employee.
Told Ana Paula de Oliveira Castro, a public defender of women’s issues via the UK’s telegraph: ‘It violates women’s rights. It’s very intimate information that she has the right to keep. It’s absurd to continue with these demands.’
Brazil’s national Special Secretariat for Women’s Rights said it was against any requirements that compromise the privacy of women.
‘The woman has the right to choose whether to take an exam that will not affect her professional life,’ said the statement.
The statement would add that such vetting policies violate constitutional protections of human dignity and the principle of equality and right to private life.
The public management department for Sao Paulo said that all tests ordered follow the standards and recommendation of the country’s Health Ministry for public servants as well as state law.
It also said that other states and federal agencies have similar requirements.
‘The health inspections are intended to ensure, beyond technical ability, the physical and mental ability of candidates to keep their jobs for an average of 25 years.’
While the department requires other health exams, such as a mammography for women and a prostate test for men older than 40, the gynecological exams were criticized as particularly invasive.
The issue came to light this week after a local media outlet interviewed a 27-year-old woman who said she was ashamed to ask a doctor for a note declaring she was still a virgin to escape the other tests.
The bar association of Sao Paulo said the practice was unconstitutional. The group Catholics for the Right to Choose also complained about it, saying in a statement ‘We are living in the Middle Ages!’
Last year, a similar incident sparked anger in the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, when female candidates for police jobs were asked to take the tests or prove their hymens were not torn.
The government subsequently asked that such tests be eliminated. It is not understood at present if the state has considered calling off the new mandate or why for that matter it has come to insist on it in the first place or whether men will also be asked to have an account of their sexual history as well…?
And then there were these comments on the web that made me wonder:
So let me get this straight….the women of Sao Paulo cannot be sexually active if they want to work in education? WTH kind of nonsense is that? AGAIN, men are trying to dictate what women do with their bodies. And apparently they will stoop so low now as to make it a job requirement.