India asks women civil servants to give menstrual cycle details


India:A discomfited Indian federal government is considering withdrawing personal clauses in its new performance appraisal forms for civil servants following protests from women officers who are required to reveal their menstrual cycles.

Under the revised assessment forms issued by the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, female officials are also required to declare when they last sought maternity leave. It states that women officers must note their "detailed menstrual history and history of last menstrual period including date of last confinement [ maternity leave]".

Enraged female civil servants said the information demanded was a gross invasion of privacy. Many from the most senior administrative service and police service said they would not comply with the directive.

"I am completely shocked," said Sharwari Gokhale, environment secretary in the Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital. "I have no intention of telling them anything about my personal life."

Satyanand Mishra, the official responsible for issuing the forms, was unapologetic, and was quoted as saying the questions were based on advice from the ministry of health. However, senior officials indicated yesterday that the clause would be removed.