Cabinet approves gender equality strategy

The document contains measures to promote gender balance in politics, to reduce the pay gap, to expand kindergartens and part-time work.

The Czech Republic has long garnered criticism from international and European institutions and domestic organizations for its small share of women in decision-making, a large gender pay gap, low employment of mothers of young children, and a lack of kindergartens. In the rankings of equality, Czechia has been falling. In the equality index of the World Economic Forum, it finished 78th out of 153 countries.

Therefore, the government approved last week a strategy for equality between women and men until the year of 2030. The strategy focuses on eight areas, namely work and care, decision-making, safety, health, knowledge, society, external relations, and institutions. The material itself has 120 pages, accompanied by 90 pages with a breakdown of measures. Government Commissioner for Human Rights Helena Válková (for ANO) noted that ministries and authorities agreed with the measures.

Women occupy about a fifth of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. According to the strategy, from 1996 to the last elections, the share of women per year rose on average in the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) by 0.33% and in the upper house (Senate) by 0.15%. Women would thus achieve a 40% representation in the Chamber of Deputies in half a century and the Senate in 70 years. According to the strategy, proposals for a change in laws to achieve a balanced representation in politics should be ready by the end of next year.

Within ten years, the difference in earnings for women and men in the same positions and with the same work should be reduced from 11% to 6%. In the public sector, the average pay gap should fall from 16% to 10%. By the end of next year, a concept of salary increases in feminized sectors, especially in education, health, and social services, should emerge.

There should be a significant increase in the number of slots in kindergartens and children's groups. Stereotypes in education should be overcome, so that more girls could devote themselves to technology and more boys to social or pedagogical disciplines.

Men should be motivated to participate in childcare, thanks to education and changes in laws. More men should then go on parental and paternity leave. The strategy also points out that men have a shorter life expectancy than women. Disease prevention is often neglected in this group and the symptoms of a disease are overlooked. On the other hand, women’s pain is commonly overlooked, their diagnoses are made light of and they also get prescribed antidepressants more often. New drugs are being developed mainly for men, the strategy says.

The first document in support of equal opportunities was adopted by the government in 1998. The latest strategy was approved by the cabinet in 2014. This material also anticipated a reduction in the difference in earnings or an increase in the representation of women in politics. However, no concrete measures have been taken yet.

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