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Current Affairs

Indonesia scraps virginity tests for women army cadets

Date: 14 August 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The long-standing virginity tests conducted for women army cadets were scraped by the Indonesian army.

 

Background

Indonesia is one of the world’s most conservative countries. There are strict rules and regulations for women to join security forces.

 

Details

  • The existence of such a test for new joining cadets was exposed for the first time in 2014 by Human rights watch.

  • Since 1965, these tests are mandatory for women applicants. These still exist even after the National Police principles promote non-discriminatory practices.

  • The tests are mandatory for female recruiters for the army. Even female cadets marrying military officers have to undergo such tests.

 

Virginity tests

  • It is form of inspection of female reproductive parts by checking the hymen and also the interior vaginal wall. It is also known as “two-finger” test.

  • The main idea behind holding the test is to find out if the woman is engaged sexually in vaginal intercourse. The test is a classic example of gender-based discrimination.

 

The new changes

  • The army chief has directed that female candidates should be tested in a same manner as male candidates through physical examination.

  • The checks while marrying should be administrative in nature and the bride should not be subjected to undergo virginity tests.

 

Validity of practice

  • Human Rights organizations have demanded that the tests be completely scrapped as it does not have a scientific basis and is highly discriminative.

  • There is no need for knowing the vaginal intercourse history of a candidate for ascertaining if they are fit for the combat role.

  • The effects of such a test are sure to cause physical and psychological trauma which will have immediate and long-term effects.

 

Countries having similar tests

Women and girls in countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan and South Africa still undergo virginity tests for various reasons.