Survey highlights Czech gender pay gap

Illustrative photo: Klára Stejskalová

Czech women with university education have 29 percent lower salaries on average than their male colleagues, which means some 15,000 crowns less monthly, according to a study commissioned by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry and presented on Wednesday.

Illustrative photo: Klára Stejskalová
The gender pay gap in the Czech Republic has been rising with increasing education levels, suggests the study, to be officially released on the occasion of the European Equal Pay Day, which falls on November 3.

Among the overall population, the Czech Republic has the second highest difference in the average earnings of men and women (22 percent) in the EU.

“If this problem is not being solved in politics and in the public sector, we cannot expect the private sector to do so on its own,” said outgoing Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová.

She pointed out that it’s not only women who pay for lower wages, but also their families, mainly children. Due to the gender pay gap, women also tend to have lower pensions and are more at risk of poverty in retirement.

According to the study, women with elementary education earn on average 17 percent or 3,405 crowns less than men monthly, while female secondary school graduates earn 21 percent or 6,371 crowns less than men. The biggest gap is in the category of university graduates where women’s monthly salaries are 29 percent or 15,000 crowns lower than men’s.

In the past few years, there have been more female than male graduates from Czech universities. In 2015, one-quarter of Czech women and 16 percent of Czech men had a BA degree, while 21 percent of men and 19 percent of women had MA or higher university degrees.

According to the authors, the gender gap is also caused by the prevailing stereotype in Czech society seeing man as a breadwinner and woman as someone looking after the household. Other negative factors contributing to the gender pay gap are the lower employment rates among women, long maternity leave and low parental benefits that don’t motivate fathers to participate in childcare, as well as lack of nurseries.

The lack of transparency in remuneration is a further problem. Salaries are not being talked about openly in firms and their employees often have no idea how much their colleagues are earning.