Around the World

These articles feature a comparative look at policing across the globe. 

Around the World 4.1

Source: “Indonesia subjects female police applicants to virginity tests,” by M. Dhumieres, Global Post, November 17, 2014 (

In 2014, Indonesia launched a massive effort to hire women police officers, resulting in 7,000 new recruits, despite the stringent requirements. Female candidates for the Indonesian police force must be between ages 17.5 and 22, must have completed high school, must not be or ever have been married, must not need glasses, and must be at least 65 inches tall. The most controversial requirement by far, however, is that all recruits must be virgins. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned this requirement as discriminatory and degrading, and many women object to it, but despite the efforts of even high-level women to ban its use, the decades-old tradition remains in place.

HRW conducted interviews with women who described learning about the test just minutes before it was to take place. They understood that they would disqualify themselves from employment if they refused the test, which required them to undress in front of other candidates and allow testers to insert their fingers into the women’s vaginas. Some of the women feared that the test would deprive them of their virginity.

Among officials in Indonesia, virginity is still seen as a sign of purity and moral and physical fitness. The test is not limited to the police. Women recruits for the army or those who want to marry a police officer or member of the army must also undergo this misogynistic screening.

  1. In the United States, only about 15% of law enforcement officers are female, while females make up approximately 51% of the general population. Why do you believe this disparity exists?
  2. Do you believe that females are suited for every type of law enforcement function? Are there certain jobs that should be reserved exclusively for men?
  3. Should women be held to a different hiring standard than men?
  4. Can you identify any law enforcement functions where you would expect women to outperform men?