A lot of elements go into a good application for an internship: A strong CV, stellar recommendations, relevant experience… and the ability to look good in a two-piece? Wait, what? A Czech nuclear power station held a bikini contest in order to select a new intern. After people protested the sexism of hiring female interns based on their looks (for a job that has nothing to do with modeling or bikinis), the company ultimately ended the contest — but the fact that it ever happened in the first place boggles my mind. What year are we living in? What do swimsuits have to do with nuclear power?
UPDATE: In a comment to Bustle, a spokesperson for CEZ said that the beauty competition was organized by a third party, “Maturantka roku,” which translates to “Graduate of the Year.” The spokesperson emphasized that the brief internship at CEZ was conceived as a prize for the winner of the beauty competition, not as a search for a new employee. After allowing people to vote in the competition on its Facebook page for about a day, CEZ removed the post and apologized. The company did not announce a winner.
Last week, the Temelín Power Station, owned by CEZ, announced a competition for “Miss Energy 2017.” According to CNN, the company posted images of 10 female high-school graduates, each wearing a bikini and hardhat, on its Facebook page. (The post has since been removed.) The company wrote that whichever woman got the most “likes” would win the title of “Miss Energy 2017” and a two-week-long internship at the power plant.
Unsurprisingly, many Facebook users slammed the competition for being sexist. According to TIME, one user commented, “You find the number of likes under half-naked picture of a young lady as adequate and/or tasteful criterion for a career opportunity that is promoted as ‘professional?’”
CNN says that, at one point, the company defended the photos, writing, “We think photographs are very tasteful. The combination of beauty and the industrial environment gives an interesting result.” However, CEZ eventually took the Facebook post down, and apologized.
A CEZ spokesman told CNET, “We did not want anyone to feel upset. The purpose of the competition was to introduce a non-traditional environment and support technical education. However, if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry about it.” The company also said on Facebook that all of the women who were featured in the competition would be awarded with internships.