Friday, April 03, 2009

study: women and the Roma face discrimination in the Czech job market

This week, it was reported in the Czech press that, according to Social Watch, an international human rights watchdog, Czech women and the largest racial minority, the Roma, are discriminated against in the job market.

As I also wrote on this blog last month, Czech women’s salaries are, on the average, 25% lower than men’s. Furthermore, Social Watch has found this:

Women are also overrepresented in the secondary market, where labour positions are characterized by lower prestige, worse working conditions and higher insecurity. Those with children up to six years of age and women-breadwinners are particularly threatened by long-term unemployment and poverty. In a recent survey, 13.2% of Czech women reported that they had suffered sexual harassment at work.


The study examined women’s representation in places of power. It found that "in 2007 women’s representation was 11% in the Government, 15.5% in the Chamber of Deputies, 13.6% in the Senate, 15% in regional councils and 25% in municipal councils." Worldwide, the average percentage of women in government positions is 17%, though the minimum benchmark of at least 30 percent was established in 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Peking.

Though 97 countries around the world have mandated quota for numbers of women in government, no quota systems or other forms of affirmative action have yet been proposed in the Czech Republic. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was, in fact, quoted by Social Watch as declaring at the inauguration of the European Year of Equal Opportunities in April 2007:

As to women – who in my opinion do not represent a disadvantaged group, even though they are usually designated as such – we cannot talk about equal opportunities (…). A woman has the freedom to decide not to have children and by making that choice, I am convinced, she can have the same professional opportunities a man has.


In addition to women, the Roma (a self-identifying term used instead of the derogative term Gypsies), are severely discriminated against in the market place. Social Watch states that the Roma, who represent 3% of the population, have "a dog’s chance for equal rights."

The report continues:

Although they became a recognized ethnic minority after 1989, growing inequality caught a significant part of the Roma population in the trap of social exclusion and ghettos started to spring up. The Roma suffer discrimination in the labour market and in education. Restaurants frequently refuse to serve them. Racist-based aggression, sometimes ending in the death of the victim, has increased (...) Housing discrimination exacerbates spatial exclusion. More than 300 slums and slum-like housing estates are inhabited largely by some 80,000 Roma.


On the whole, the report states, public services in the Czech Republic have been gradually shrinking. The Government is implementing a far-reaching privatization of public services, including health services, and the the gap between rich and poor is growing.

***

Tento týden byla v tisku zveřejněna zpráva mezinárodní organizace Social Watch, že český trh diskriminuje ženy a Romy. Podle této organizace, která monituruje pokroky a nedostatky v boji proti chudobě a za rovnost mužů a žen, ženy v České republice vydělávají o 25 procent méně než muži a častěji zastávají pracovní pozice s nízkou prestiží. Ženy jsou také více ohroženy nezaměstnaností. Matkám dětí do šesti let a ženám, které jsou hlavami rodiny, obzvláště hrozí dlouhodobá nezaměstnanost a chudoba.

Zpráva také informuje o tom, že 13.2% žen v Česku v nedávném průzkumu uvedlo, že se v práci setkává se sexuálním obtěžováním.

Šetření se zabývalo i podílem žen na moci. Podle SW "v roce 2007 bylo ve vládě 11%, v Parlamentu 15.5%, v Senátu 13.6% a 15% v regionalních radách a 25% v městských radách." Celosvětový průměrný podíl žen v zákonodárných orgánech je 17%, i když na Mezinárodní konferenci žen v Pekingu v roce 1995 byla stanovena minimální 30 procentní reprezentace.

I když v součastnosti existuje 97 zemí s kvótami na poměr žen v politice, v České republice se zatím návrhy na podobná opatření nevyskytla. Předseda vlády Mirek Topolanek, ocitován organizací Social Watch, se naopak vyjádřil proti podpoře rovnoprávnosti při slavnostním zahájení Evropského roku rovných příležitostí v dubnu 2007:

V případě žen – což není znevýhodněná menšina, ale obvykle se tak o ní mluví – rovněž nelze mluvit o rovnosti příležitostí. Těhotenství a mateřství je výsadou žen a tato výsada činí ženy apriorně odlišnými od mužů. Například na trhu práce (...) Žena se může svobodně rozhodnout děti nemít a pak jsem přesvědčen, že má stejné příležitosti uplatnění jako muž.


Český pracovní trh dále diskriminuje Romy, kteří tvoří 3% populace a podle zprávy SW mají "mizernou příležitost (doslova pod psa) dosáhnout rovnoprávnosti" s majoritou.

Zpráva pokračuje:

Ačkoliv jsou Romové oficiálně uznáváni za etnickou menšinu od roku 1989, zvětšující se nerovnoprávnost je svrhla do pasti sociálního vyloučení a díky jí se začala objevovat ghetta. Romové jsou diskriminováni na trhu práce a ve vzdělání. Restaurace je často odmítají obsluhovat. Množství zločinu podloženým rasovou agresí, někdy končící až i smrtí oběti, se zvyšuje (...) Diskriminace v bydlení stav vyloučení zhoršuje. Ve více než 300 chudinských čtvrtích a slumům podobných osadách žije přibližně 80.000 Romů.


Dále zpráva zahrnovala informace o tom, že veřejné programy se v České republice postupně ruší. Vláda provádí rozsáhlou privatizaci veřejných služeb, včetně zdravotnictví a rozdíl mezi chudými a bohatými roste.

4 comments:

Lucie said...

Great post! Thank you.
I sometimes cannot comprehend the logic and reasoning behind decisions and statements of some Czech politicians. Mirek Topolanek is offensively inappropriate for his position regarding equal opportunity in the market for men and women. I think that his understanding and application of freedom and the human ability to make a choice is fundamentally corrupt. He is suggesting that in order for a woman to have the same professional opportunities in the market as a man does, she is pre-conditioned by making a decision to be a mother or not, which is a clear demonstration of discrimination, rather than freedom. It is like asking a man to chose to be a father or not before allowing him to have equal professional opportunities in the market.
Why is freedom, equality, prosperity, fair competition, justice, human rights, and love so hard to understand and to implement in a country where majority of general public is so hungry for it?
Even though it is, at times, very embarrassing to read statements of some Czech politicians (hence Mirek Topolanek - almost every time he opens his mouth), in the end it might be good, because the negative international attention that such behavior is causing might actually pressure the Czech leaders to a change.

teacher_girl said...

Thank you, Lucie. I agree with you. And you have a good point about how the negative international attention might help pressure Czech leaders to implement changes towards equality & social justice. Sometimes I think that for the Czech Republic that is the push required for any kind of major change in the human rights arena. Too much ingrained racism and sexism here.

Lucie said...

Yes it is. I wonder if the existence of negative attention would be enough.
This might be a stretch, but is it possible that Czech leaders are still influenced by the former regime that was based on false beliefs and lies, and just use freedom to hide behind? It is really easy to say a person is free to make his/her own decisions; but it is not easy at all to create a free environment, a free society where social justice and equality would be possible. And that is where I think Czech politicians are fundamentally wrong.

teacher_girl said...

Honestly, from my observation, it seems that many of the Czech leaders care primarily about power & money ("the market") and they hide trying to achieve both behind advocating for freedom (of the market). The lobbies are strong here & shady deals abound. Too bad there is so much in-fighting in the government that the people -- in general -- have grown tired of it and stopped caring since the government doesn't ever seem to be dealing with anything of importance to regular people. And when it does, all the negotiation happens behind closed doors and the people are presented with a done deal. There are groups of activists here, but they don't get much coverage in the right-leaning press.