Czechia slides down global gender equality ranking

Czechia has slipped down the World Economic Forum's rankings for gender equality. The country is currently ranked 101st out of 146 countries, 25 places lower than it was last year. I discussed the situation with Johana Jonáková, head of Gender Studies organization promoting equal opportunities for men and women, and asked her about the main reasons behind Czechia’s poor performance:

Photo: GDJ,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

“I would say the biggest inequalities between women and men in Czechia are in the area of power and women’s access to decision-making positions, in other words, in the proportion of women in managerial positions and on executive boards.

“This is where Czechia scored the lowest in the global gender equality index. I think it doesn’t necessarily mean that Czechia is doing worse than in the previous years, but that we are not improving, while other states have improved since last year.”

Which countries are you talking about?

“For example, take a look at the political representation, there is a sub-index of women in ministerial positions. In 2021 we had one female minister more than now and we actually only have three this year. So for other countries, it is probably a priority, while in the Czech Republic, it isn’t.”

Why do you think it is so hard to make progress in the area of equal representation of women and men in politics?

“As I mentioned, it is not a priority. The other problem are gender stereotypes in our society that are based on the beliefs that women and men have different competencies. The problem is that part of our society still believes that women’s role is mainly to take care of children.”

Global Gender Gap Report 2023 | Photo: World Economic Forum

So would you say the Czech government is not doing enough to improve the situation?

“We have just appointed a highly-experienced government commissioner for human rights, Klára Šimečková Laurenčíková. We have also adopted an equal pay action plan for the years 2023 to 2026, and, thanks to the Czech EU presidency, we have pushed through the transparent remuneration plan. So I wouldn’t say the Czech government is not doing anything, but it is not doing enough.”

What steps should be taken to reach higher gender parity?

“One thing is to put pressure on municipalities to establish childcare facilities, especially for children under the age of three. It would enable women to engage publicly and step onto managing boards and other positions. So I think this is a crucial thing.”