Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Indian government says it will review new appraisal forms requiring female civil servants to reveal details of their menstrual cycles

BBC News:

The ministry of personnel says it has written to the health ministry following complaints from staff that the form was grossly insensitive.

The questions are said to have been inserted on health ministry advice.

Annual appraisals and health checks are mandatory in India's civil service, one of the country's largest employers.

The secretary of the personnel department at the federal Ministry for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Satyanand Mishra, told the BBC a medical check-up clause was being introduced for the first time for civil servants above the age of 40.

He said that the form - designed in consultation with the health ministry - was due to come into effect from 31 March 2008.

Mr Mishra said that since women officers had raised objections about certain questions in the form, he had written to the health ministry to ask whether specific information about their menstrual cycles was really required.

He said he had asked for a quick response.

Mr Mishra was quoted by the Hindustan Times on Wednesday saying he assumed the new questions "will help evaluate the officer's fitness".

Under the new nationwide requirements, female officials also have to say when they last sought maternity leave.

One senior female member of staff said she was "gob smacked" at being asked about her menstrual cycle.

India asks civil servants about their periods

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