Greater Tainan’s Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) recently recruited 126 new temporary sanitation workers, but out of the 817 women who applied, only one was given a job. City councilors are saying that the hiring process allegedly discriminates against women, making it practically meaningless for women to apply.
EPB boss Chang Huang-chen says that the agency had initially considered guaranteeing jobs for women, but says that regulations in the Act of Gender Equality in Employment and the Employment Services Act keep them from doing so. The agency follows the same standards as Taipei and other counties and cities for the recruiting process, which stipulate that men should be able to carry sandbags weighing 15kg and women should be able to carry 12kg as part of the physical examination process. Women usually account for around 20 percent of the top 100 candidates. More than 2,000 people applied for jobs this time, but out of the more than 800 women who applied only one was actually hired.
“I’m a woman, so I’m personally dissatisfied with the results of the test, and hope that the way the test is carried out will be altered to get better, more satisfactory results in the future,” Chang says.
Last week, Greater Tainan councilors Hung Yu-feng and Chen Wen-ke held a press conference, criticizing the EPB’s hiring procedures for being fair on the surface but actually discriminating against women.
Hung says that the overall recruitment process is fair but quite cruel toward women, “Pretty much leaving all of the women who apply high and dry.” Although it ostensibly seems like there are no barriers against women, they are effectively guilty of gender discrimination. “Twelve kilograms is quite heavy. I couldn’t even run carrying that much weight.”
Chen says that while women carry less than men in the exam, women are also generally not as physically strong as men, adding that not having different standards for different age groups and weight divisions is completely unfair to older people and women, particularly when you have 20-year-olds competing against 50-year-olds and people who weigh 50kg up against people who weigh 100kg.
Huang Mei-hui, secretary-general of Tainan City’s Department of Labor Affairs, says that setting hiring restrictions based on age would be discriminatory and arouse concerns, but says that it is something that definitely requires more legal discussion. Exactly how many kilograms a person should be able to lift to qualify for a job should ultimately be left to the department that is responsible for hiring to decide, Huang says.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)