Thursday, 24 April 2014

Ombudsman: Science grants discriminate against women

ČTK |
1 February 2013

Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) - The grant agency should change the rules as Czech female scientists face problems when discontinuing their research projects over maternity, ombudsman Pavel Varvarovsky has said.

Varvarovsky responded to the complaint raised by the National Contact Centre - Women and Science (NKC).

However, the grant agency, officially called the Czech Science Foundation, has said it is trying to do the best for women.

After gaining the doctor's degree, young researchers can ask for a grant to fund their research project within four years.

However, the request can only be submitted once.

The request for discontinuation can only be submitted in two scheduled deadlines in a year and if a woman enters her maternity leave somewhat later, she gets less money from her maternity benefit.

"I propose that project researchers be given the opportunity to ask for the contribution repeatedly, not only during a single calendar year," the ombudsman's report said.

If female researchers can discontinue their research project, this can only happen for a year, while they cannot interrupt their work for a shorter time than fixed.

Varvarovsky said the rule should not be that strict.

He went on to criticise the fact that women must immediately announce their pregnancies to the agency. He has recommended that the duty to reveal sensitive personal data be abolished.

Transparent criteria for the cases should be set down, Varvarovsky said.

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