Power company launches bikini competition to find interns

Emma Woollacott

Choosing an intern can't ever be easy: picking from dozens of teenagers, all of whom will have similar qualifications and experience (or lack of them).

Even so, it's hard to understand why Czech power company CEZ chose the method it did when recruiting an intern to work at one of its nuclear power stations.

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It asked all the female applicants to put on a bikini and a hard hat, got them to pose in the Temlin nuclear power plant cooling tower and posted the pictures on Facebook.

It then asked its followers to rate them on their attractiveness, saying that the winner would not only get the internship, but the title 'Bouncer of Energy'.

Facebook post
Facebook post

"We think photographs are very tasteful. The combination of beauty and the industrial environment gives an interesting result," the company explained.

Ten young women were featured before the company had second thoughts.

However, following the inevitable reaction, CEZ has now withdrawn the images and has published an apology of sorts.

"The winner of the Facebook competition is... all interested parties," it says, explaining that internships will now be offered to all the young women.

"We didn't want to upset anyone. The purpose of the competition was to promote technical education. But if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry."

Of course, anything like this would be highly illegal in the UK, where it's against the law to discriminate against a job candidate on the basis of their gender - or attractiveness.

But subtler sexism is still rife, with a survey earlier this year revealing that women are three times more likely to be asked about their relationship status than men and eight times more likely to be asked about plans to have children.

Even now, it's not at all clear that CEZ appreciates the error of its ways. According to Deutsche Welle, it's claimed that the young women all enjoyed taking part.

It's even compared the competition to its previous sponsorship of classical music performances, calling it an act of 'cultural enrichment'.