Council criticised for not saying 'women' in tweet promoting cervical screenings


A council has been criticised for a tweet about cervical screening - for not mentioning women in the wording.

In a post to coincide with cervical screening awareness week, North Somerset Council said: "almost one in three" don't go for a cervical screening.

Social media users were quick to query the council for not including the word "women" in the statistic. Some questioned whether it also included men.

Other users pointed out that the supposed ambiguity of the wording could confuse those who speak English as a second language.

The tweet read: "Bit embarrassed about cervical screening? You're not alone! But please don’t let that stop you from going. @JosTrust has info about what to expect. And you can talk to the nurse/doctor doing the test to help put you at ease."

It was accompanied by a picture reading: "Almost one in three don't go for a cervical screening."

Although the authority didn't mention "women" in the tweet, a later reply to another Twitter user did say: "I don't think men have a cervix", something others branded "transphobic".

Other social media users highlighted research from Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust that suggested almost half of women, around 44 pr cent, were actually unaware of what a cervixi was.

@Yvonne_biology said: "How do I know if this screening is something I should be be doing? Is there a way to identify those individuals who require screening or is it for everyone?"

While @Beardedandcamera tweeted the council, saying: "So you can bring yourself to say men, but you can’t say women."

Heather Finlay commented: "Health communication needs to be clear including targetting. Yours isn’t. You need to change the language you use!"

@HagFeminist said: "I think this is statistically wrong? If you meant to say one in three women, but just dropped the word woman for some reason. Now you are actually saying one in three people. So which is correct, please?"

What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening is a free test offered by the NHS to those with a cervix. It helps prevent cervical cancer by checking for a virus called high-risk HPV and cervical cell changes.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust says the test itself is not checking for cancer.

Who gets invited for a screening?

People with a cervix. While women are usually born with a cervix, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust says trans men, non-binary and intersex people may also have one.

More information about cervical screening is available at the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust website.

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