Ministry campaign encourages Czech women to demand pay equality

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Women in the Czech Republic earn considerably less than their male counterparts. Indeed the country’s pay gap is among the widest in the European Union. Now the Ministry of Labour has launched a campaign calling on women to demand wage equality, iDnes.cz reported.

According to a report from the European Commission in April, Czech women earn 20.1 percent less per hour than men. This places the Czech Republic among the states with the biggest gender pay gap, with only Germany and Estonia recording wider differences. The EU average difference is 16 percent, iDnes.cz said.

In the first quarter of 2020, the average monthly salary in this country was CZK 33,814 for male workers and CZK 28,481 for female ones.

According to data from the Czech Statistics Office, the pay gap has not narrowed in recent years but has in fact widened slightly.

The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is now addressing the issue with a project entitled 22% For Equality. It aims to lessen the difference between the genders when it comes to salaries, as well as raising awareness of the issue, iDnes.cz said.

Photo: geralt / Pixabay, CC0

One element of the scheme is a Pay Calculator, which looks at salaries, highlighting differences for women and men with regard to profession, location and age.

The project also offers basic legal information for women returning to work from maternity or parental leave.

Alžběta Honsová, marketing manager of HR specialists Randstad, told iDnes.cz that women taking maternity leave was one of the causes of pay inequality.

In skilled positions men’s salaries rise constantly and they tend to pull away from women who have interrupted their career.

Women who have attained the necessary qualifications are virtually back to square one in terms of pay when they return to work, Ms. Honsová said.

A 2018 study by Randstad found that the vast majority of jobs on offer in the Czech Republic were full-time. However, flexibility is a key demand for women with small children.

The group Business For Society conducted research, also in 2018, that found the inability to find a flexible position was the biggest barrier for those returning from maternity or paternal leave.

Another reason for the gender pay gap is a lack of women in certain professions and positions. IT tends to pay well and few women work in that branch, although the number is rising, Alžběta Honsová told iDnes.cz.

What’s more, the coronavirus crisis and its economic impact may make things worse. A study by think tank IDEA at CERGE-EI found that economic and social problems stemming from the situation would hit women harder than men.