Civil servants asked for menstruation details

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The Independent Online

Female civil servants in India are furious with new government guidelines that force them to list intimate details, including their menstrual history, on appraisal forms.

Among questions about goals and skills, the latest appraisal form, sent out this year, asks female civil servantsquestions such as "when was your last menstrual period?" or "give details of your menstrual history".

All civil servants routinely undergo health checks, but details of the tests are not supposed to be part of their appraisals.

The form also specifies that "all female officers" must list details of their last maternity leave.

"This is insensitive. We feel strongly about this," said Seema Vyas, a civil servant in Maharashtra. "What will the government do with this information?"

In Mumbai, women angered by the new appraisal form said they would meet next week to organise a formal complaint to the government, demanding the offending questions be removed.

There was no word on whether female bureaucrats in other parts of the country planned to make similar demands, and the federal health ministry said it had not yet received any complaints from female civil servants.

K Ramchandran, a spokesman for the federal health department, said: "A committee had formulated these new rules. But, rest assured, for every problem there is a solution. If things are not proper, another committee will be appointed to re-look at the appraisal form."