Numerous human rights groups in Sao Paulo, Brazil are slamming a policy in the city requiring prospective female education department employees to either take a pap smear test or prove their virginity in order to be employed.
The city defends the policy and says it ensures employees are in good health when hired. Critics, however, slam the test as an invasion of privacy.
"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," said public attorney Ana Paula de Oliveira Castro.
Brazil's national Special Secretariat for Women's Rights issued a similar statement, saying, "The woman has the right to choose whether to take an exam that will not affect her professional life.”
The policy was brought to light last week after a Brazilian woman said publicly that she was embarrassed that she had to ask a doctor for a certificate of virginity in order to be excused from the pap smear test.
Despite strong public criticism, the education department stands by the policy.
“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,” department officials said, adding that similar policies exist at other public sector agencies.
MailOnline reports that a similar policy existed at a police department in northeastern Brazil until last year. Female officers had to either take a pap smear or prove their hymens hadn’t been torn. The Brazilian government promptly ordered the policy to be terminated.