Despite Czechia’s overall steady economic status, the gender wage gap in Czechia is still a prominent issue. According to EU statistics, in 2021, women in Czechia received 19.5% lower pay than men on average in private sector work and 12.2% lower in public sector work. Overall, on average, women in Czechia earned 16.4% less than men compared to the overall EU average of women earning 13.0% less. These figures put Czechia toward the bottom of EU countries regarding gender equality and Czech women are twice as likely to face poverty than Czech men.
Barriers to Equality
Several factors contribute to the gender wage gap in Czechia. These factors include women taking career breaks due to maternity leave and childcare, the perception of men as “more ambitious and aggressive” in climbing up the job ladder and higher paid roles, such as management roles, being typically male-dominated.
Hiring managers sometimes have reservations about hiring a woman considering that a female may require time off for maternity leave and childcare. In the eyes of a business, this means wasting time and resources on training a woman for the role because the business may need to conduct further training of additional staff to cover her work during her time off.
Additionally, in Czechia, women typically shoulder the burden of household and caretaking responsibilities. As such, women have less time to focus on their careers, according to Radio Prague International.
According to Czech’s Women’s Lobby, almost 90% of single-parent families in Czechia are female-headed. Furthermore, up to 20% of single-parent families are likely to fall below the poverty line due to a reduced income and the costs associated with raising and caring for children. Single mothers also frequently rely on low-paid, often part-time, work with unreliable schedules to fit around their children’s lives, which further increases their risk for poverty.
As society often considers men as more ambitious in their jobs, men are sometimes seen as “more competent and assertive” than their female counterparts. These gender stereotypes similarly play into the assumptions of different types of jobs being suitable for men and women, meaning men will often end up in higher-paying roles, reinforcing the gender wage gap in Czechia. However, evidence shows that, even in the same roles, women in Czechia can expect a 12% pay cut compared to a man’s wage. Closing the gender wage gap will help women in Czechia to stay above the poverty line.
Pay Transparency and Fairness
In December 2022, European Parliament and the Czech presidency came to a provisional agreement on rules of pay transparency. This will prevent employers from adjusting salaries depending on whether a man or woman secures the job. “To avoid discrimination, employers have to make sure their employees have easy access to the objective and gender-neutral criteria they use to define pay and possible pay rises. Workers and their representatives will also have the right to request and receive information on their individual pay level and the average pay levels for workers doing the same work or work of equal value, broken down by sex,” the Council of the EU explains. In the case that an employer has not followed the rules of the equal pay principle, workers will be able to claim compensation.
A more even split between genders in parental care and housework tends to be more common among younger generations, which will help to balance out the time available for women to focus on their careers. By dissolving gender stereotypes, women will be able to achieve career fulfillment, which may include higher-paid roles traditionally held by men.
– Hannah Naylor
Photo: Wikipedia Commons