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Minister plans campaign to curb gender pay gap

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Prague, March 8 (CTK) – The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry will launch an extensive campaign to highlight the differences in the earnings of men and women and help reduce them in the spring, Labour Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD) told reporters yesterday.
Women earn 22 percent less than men on average in the Czech Republic, which is the third worst position in Europe, after Austria and Estonia, Marksova said.
“The difference between the average wage of a man and a woman is 6,500 crowns. This is no dispute between men and women. If a woman earns less, it has a negative impact on the whole family, mainly on children,” Marksova said.
Besides, lower wages are reflected in old-age pensions. Consequently, women receive about 20-percent lower pensions than men, she added.
The ministry is now completing instructions for labour inspectors to be able to reveal unrightful pay differences between both genders.
Marksova also called on women to address labour inspectors with their proposals.
Another problem is that women often lose their disputes if they turn to courts after the labour inspection assesses their complaint as rightful, Marksova said.
The campaign entitled “22 percent to equality” is to start in the spring. It will offer “a wage calculator” to enable people to calculate the usual salary in their profession and with their education level and practice in the respective region. Consequently, they can ask for a pay rise at work.
“Primarily women are reluctant to ask for a higher salary,” Deputy Labour Minister Zuzana Jentschke Stoecklova (CSSD) said.
The campaign will also include courses for clerks and an analysis of possible legislative steps to help eliminate the gender pay gap.
Shortly after she assumed her office two years ago, Marksova had a personnel audit in her sector carried out. It found out a 2.5 percent difference in the remuneration of women and men, while women filled 48 percent of managerial posts and men 52 percent.
“The results are very good compared to other state administration institutions,” Marksova said.
The gender pay gap amounts to 16 percent on average in state administration, she added.
One of the reasons for the lower earnings of women is that they often work in professions with traditionally lower salaries, such as the education and health-care spheres. Besides, they often occupy lower positions than men.
Nevertheless, women get lower salaries than their male colleagues even for the same work.
Another reason is that women spend a lot of time looking after their children, elderly family members and household.
($1=24.692 crowns)

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