Indonesian Official Proposes Virginity Test for Access to Education
An Indonesian education official has proposed that all high school-aged girls be required to pass a "virginity exam," in order to attend school.
Muhammad Rasyid, who leads the education office in South Sumatra's district of Prabumulih, says the mandate would discourage young girls from premarital sex and promiscuity. Although he said the tests could begin as early as 2014, the proposal has come heavily under fire from public education NGOs and other Indonesian officials.
The test would involve an invasive vaginal exam to determine if the girl's hymen has been torn. Critics of the plan have noted that hymens can be torn from activities other than sex - including sports or health problems - and that education is a fundamental human right regardless of sexual activeness.
A coalition of educational organizations issued a press release on Wednesday, saying "The purpose of such a test is absurd. The 1945 Constitution as well as the 1999 Human Rights Law stipulate that education is one of every citizen's constitutional rights. Therefore, the right of access to education cannot be denied under any circumstance. The planned test also violates the 2013 National Education Law, which stipulates that education shall be maintained with justice and without discrimination."
Nurul Arifin, a female politician from the Golkar Party, called the proposal "discrimination and harassment against women." Another province attempted to implement a similar plan in 2010, but it was abandoned following a public outcry.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 8/21/2013; International Business Times 8/21/2013; Jakarta Post 8/21/2013
3/2/2015 Iranian Activist Wins International Human Rights Award for Hijab Campaign - Journalist Masih Alinejad was awarded the Women's Rights Award at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy last week for her activism supporting Iranian women who choose not to cover their heads in a hijab.
Alinejad's Facebook page, "My Stealthy Freedom," has gained international attention and more than 700,000 followers by posting pictures of Iranian women without the hijab. . . .