No, You Don’t Have To Be A Virgin To Teach In Brazil
There is a story going around the Internet today that is pretty shocking…if you only read the headline. According to certain “news” sources such as The Daily Mail, The Sydney Morning Herald and Georgia News Day, women seeking education positions in San Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, are being forced to undergo virginity tests to get hired! Holy rights violations, Batman! But hold your horses. The truth might not be much better, but women aren’t be hog tied and given the old V-card test against their will.
According to less sensational news sources, San Paulo women are being asked to submit to certain gynecological exams, such as a pap smear, in order to prove they don’t have any medical issues or diseases that might hinder their ability to work long term. The only time they are asked to prove their virginity (not that this should ever be a thing) is if they are unwilling or unable to submit to these exams. And the requirement is a doctor’s note, not a full-fledged exam, but to be fair, we don’t know how many docs require a patient exam to write these notes.
The reasoning behind the gynecological exams is questionable, to be sure, and asking them to prove their virginity even more so. Don’t they realize that even virgins can get vag cancer and other diseases?
As you might imagine, these requirements have women’s rights advocates outraged…since 2012 when San Paulo’s Education Department enacted the rules. Since then the standards have actually been lowered. Originally a procedure called a colposcopy was also required, as well as a pap smear and mammogram. Male applicants aren’t home free either. If a man is over the age of 40 and applying for an education position, he must submit to a prostate exam, something I think is at least as intrusive as a pelvic examination.
I’m not in anyway defending these requirements. A person’s medical history shouldn’t be on the table when someone is being considered for a job, period.
But why is this suddenly an issue now, more than two years since the rules came into effect? Various sources cite an unnamed woman who claims to have been embarrassed to ask her doctor for a note proving her virginity, but I am leaning towards “slow news day.” Obviously this is an important subject, and personally I think it’s better to be brought up late than never. But purposely spreading misinformation in the name of page views is a pretty crappy way to change a policy.