ERA: GE And Gender Mainstreaming in Research in CZ

The 2018 ERA Progress Report assesses the current state of the European Research Area (ERA) and the progress made on ERA implementation in 2016-2018. It is the second time in a row that progress has been measured at country level using the ERA monitoring mechanism.

This is an extract of the part which concerns gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research in the Czech Republic.

Czech researchers’ integration of a gender dimension in their research content was below the EU-28 benchmark and under ERA average. The country’s scores for the headline and the remaining complementary indicator were both even further below the ERA averages.

Nevertheless, it can be noted that that all ERA countries have achieved scores between 40 % and 60 % in shares of women PhD graduates, and have therefore almost realised, realised or gone beyond gender parity for this specific career stage.

The Czech Republic has not seen substantive changes in scores on this priority in recent years, in line with broader findings for the EU-28 overall.

In 2014, the proportion of females among researchers was lowest since 2001. This is a negative tendency considering that the proportion of females is growing at all levels of education, including PhD.

The development of an Action Plan for Development of Human Resources for R&D and Gender Equality in R&D is expected to address main issues in this area. Another important development under Priority 4 was the adoption of the first gender equality policy by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic in 2015. This was the first gender equality policy ever adopted by a state institution in the country (EIGE, 2016).

It is expected that this commitment towards integrating gender on behalf of the National Research Technical Agency will encourage research and higher education institutions to take necessary actions.

One of the interviewees mentioned a positive institutional practice where a research performing organisation has dedicated funds for female researchers returning from maternity leave.

It is particularly important as it was noted that career progression is challenge for female researchers, especially the ones returning from the maternity leave (Shrolec and Sanchez-Martinez, 2018). The Czech NAP set out an objective to develop comprehensive strategy approach to human resources development and gender equality in R&D under Priority 4.

The Action Plan for Human Resources Development and Gender Equality in R&D was approved by the government in January 2018. There are also incentives within the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (OP RDE) expected to motivate research organisations to take a strategic approach to human resources.

Another achievement is the preservation of Milada Paulová Award, which contributes to the objective of acknowledging women’s lifelong achievements in science and increasing the attractiveness of research career in the STEM fields among young women.