The Czech Republic is one of the countries with the largest gender pay gap in the EU. On average, women earn a fifth less than men, and the annual difference exceeds one month's earnings. In an effort to combat this discrimination, the Ministry of Labour has launched a project called “22% to equality”, in reference to the difference in female and male incomes. The project involves comprehensive research, but also a web payroll calculator or an “equal pay program” for employers.
Women’s only compartments in some trains operated by Czech state rail
company, Czech Railways, does not amount to discrimination according to
Czech ombudswoman Anna Šabatová.
The compartments amount to a legitimate move to try and increase the safety on women when travelling, she explained. Several complaints against the compartments, sometimes almost empty when the rest of the train is full, have been lodged with Šabatová’s office.
Czech Railways introduced the compartments in 2012 following the example of some foreign rail companies. Czech Railways said only a very few seats on trains were reserved exclusively in this way for women.
Female university graduates in the Czech Republic earn an average 29
percent less than their male graduate colleagues, according to a study
commissioned by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Women who have
completed third-level education are paid an average CZK 15,000 less than
their male counterparts.
The Czech Republic has the second highest gap between pay levels for male and female graduates in the European Union. The average gap across the bloc is 22 percent.
March 8 is International Women’s Day and women’s organisations in the Czech Republic are using the occasion to highlight pay inequality and other issues. One event taking place on Wednesday is a gathering aligned with A Day Without a Woman, an international campaign urging women to go on strike for the day to call attention to the gender pay gap. I spoke to Petra Jelinková from Ženy, one of several young feminist groups taking part here in Prague.
The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Equality report which reflects the changing patterns of gender equality around the world has seen the Czech Republic slip to 96th place on a ladder of 142 countries. Its present ranking, below countries such as Russia and Uganda, has raised concern and highlighted the fact that progress on gender equality issues has be slow and inadequate. I asked Nina Bosničová of Gender Studies to outline the major problems.
The Czech Republic ranks 96th in this year’s global gender equality index compiled by the World Economic Forum, a Swiss-based NGO. Last year, the country ranked 83rd while in 2006, it was 53rd in the world. The Czech Republic’s poor ranking is mainly due to a wide gender pay gap and a very low representation of women in politics. The country however received top ranking in equal access to education, and ranked above average in access to health care.
The Czech Constitutional Court rejected on Monday a complaint by a Romany
woman who underwent forced sterilization in an Ostrava hospital in 1997.
Iveta Červeňáková, who was 21 at the time, complained about a decision
by the police to shelve a criminal case against two of the hospital’s
physicians. The Court said none of her constitutional rights were
by that decision.
Ms Červeňáková was sterilized in the Ostrava Municipal Hospital in 1997, after giving birth to her second child. A local court awarded her 500,000 crowns, or more than 22,000 US dollars, in damages, but a higher court said last year her claim was covered by the statute of limitations.
A Prague court has ruled in favour of the Foreign Ministry in a case involving a female employee over alleged discrimination. The decision comes after a lower-instance court awarded former diplomat Adriana Bašovská one million crowns compensation for unequal treatment at the ministry last year. In the case, she was stripped of authorisation in handling classified data by a superior. The ministry appealed the decision and the Prague municipal court found evidence that the steps taken were the same in the case of a male colleague. Mrs Bašovská worked at the Czech embassy in Libya; in 2002 she was recalled by the Foreign Ministry in Prague. Her superior claimed that she had breached security principles.