Legislative and policy framework
The concept of equality is defined in the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms, which forms part of the 1993 Constitution. References to gender equality can be also found in the Labour Code. The influence of the European Union (EU) on the advancement of gender equality in Czechia was fundamental during the accession process, especially in terms of harmonising legislation with the EU acquis.
The legal basis for non-discrimination on the grounds of sex is set out in Article 3(1) of the Constitution of Czechia (the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms), entitling everyone to rights and liberties regardless of their sex.
The Anti-discrimination Act of 1 December 2009 is the central piece of legislation aimed at preventing discrimination based on gender. In addition, sectoral laws in the areas of education and employment address gender equality in specific sectors.
Government Resolution No. 456 of 9 May 2001 provides a de facto binding decision regarding gender mainstreaming, recognising it as a legitimate tool for implementing equality between women and men.
The Government Strategy for Equality of Women and Men for 2021–2030 (2021+ Strategy) provides a clear framework for gender equality over the medium-term, in addition to being used to set government priorities each year. This strategy replaced the first government framework document for the implementation of gender equality policy in Czechia: the Government Strategy for Gender Equality in the Czech Republic for 2014-2020. Implementation of the strategy is carried out in part through gender focal points (GFPs) that are employed in all 14 ministries. Compliance with the strategy is monitored and assessed regularly, although there is no sanction mechanism in place for failure to comply. It is divided into eight chapters, which cover 26 strategic objectives and 434 measures.
The Government Strategy for Gender Equality in the Czech Republic for 2014-2020 Chapters
- Work and Care eliminating inequalities between women and men in the labour market and in connection with the care of children or other vulnerable people.
- Decision-making the low representation of women in politics and other decision-making positions in the public sphere.
- Security eliminating gender stereotypes, reducing inequalities between women and men in the field of media and culture, and supporting civil society.
- Health gender inequalities in health care, including issues related to obstetrics and postnatal care.
- Knowledge inequalities between women and men in education, science, and research.
- Society eliminating gender stereotypes, reducing inequalities between women and men in the field of media and culture, and supporting civil society.
- External relations aims to apply the perspective of gender equality in foreign policy.
- Institutions to ensure sufficient capacities at the level of public administration for the effective promotion of equality between women and men and the implementation of the 2021+ Strategy.
There is no overarching national action plan on gender equality currently in place in December 2021. The annual action plans for gender equality (formerly the so-called Updated Measures of the Government's Priorities and Procedures in Promoting Gender Equality) were previously in place between 1998 and 2020. The measures contained in the action plan were imposed on individual ministries or other entities (e.g. the President of the Czech Statistical Office) to consistently promote gender equality and gender mainstreaming at the level of the Government of the Czech Republic. Since 2014, they were also used to ensure the implementation of the Government Strategy for Gender Equality in the Czech Republic for the years 2014-2020. Czechia has several other policies to promote gender equality within a range of sectors.
Governmental equality bodies
The highest level of governmental responsibility for gender equality is the Prime Minister as the Department of Gender Equality is located within the Office of the Government.
The Department of Gender Equality (Odbor rovnosti žen a mužů při Úřadu vlády ČR) has 11 permanent employees, including its director. The Department is an organisational unit of the Office of the Government, located in the Human Rights section. It is further subdivided into two units; namely, the Unit of the Secretariat of the Government Council for Equality of Women and Men, and the Unit of Cross-cutting Agendas. Effective communication between government advisory structures (the Council) and the relevant ministries is ensured via membership or guest participation of gender focal points from each ministry at Council meetings, committees and working groups.
Department of Gender Equality Functions
- Drafting gender equality and anti-discrimination policy for the government
- Conducting gender-sensitive analysis of policies and legislation
- Coordinating and/or implementing government decisions and gender mainstreaming processes and methodologies on gender equality
- Monitoring progress in achieving gender equality and carrying out awareness-raising activities
- Researching gender equality issues
- Integrating gender equality considerations in EU and international affairs
- Publishing and disseminating gender equality-related information and conducting training
The Report on Gender Equality, prepared annually by the Department of Gender Equality, is regularly presented to the government for adoption but is not required to be presented to any of the parliamentary committees.
The Council was established by Government Resolution No. 1033 of October 10, 2001. The Statute of the Council states: ‘by its activities, the Council assists in and promotes the achievement of equality between women and men, i.e., equal standing and balanced participation of women and men in all spheres of life and at all levels of society, including the legislature, and it acts to raise general consciousness about equality between women and men and about measures to achieve equality’.
The Department of Gender Equality is regularly consulted on nearly all policies and laws (in fields other than gender equality). The department is included in the inter-ministerial comment procedure on proposed legislation and has the mandate to comment on every policy submitted to the government. As part of this procedure, the Department for Gender Equality provides their comments (relating to the gender impact assessment) via the Government Commissioner for Human Rights or the Head of the Office of the Government. If the party presenting the material for the government does not comply with the comments marked as crucial, they become a subject of disagreement. If the disagreement cannot be resolved at a lower level, the disagreement is decided by the government itself. This procedure is based on the Rules of Procedure of the Government. However, comments from the department lead to the adjustment of new or existing policies, laws or programmes in around half of the cases.
Gender mainstreaming is coordinated through an interdepartmental network of gender focal points (GFPs), based on a government resolution (No. 464 of 20 April 2005). Each of the 14 ministries of Czechia employs a gender focal point. In May 2018, the Standard of the GFP Positions was adopted by the government to liaise on gender equality issues across different ministries and strengthen the role of GFPs in carrying out gender impact assessments of legislative and non-legislative materials. Gender expertise varies between GFPs, but the Standard recommends appointing graduates with degrees in gender studies, law and social sciences. The Standard also specifies that gender training for GFPs should be officially recognised by their employers as part of continuing professional development. However, the implementation of the Gender Focal Points Standard is only a recommendation and is not obligatory. Effective communication between government advisory structures (the Council) and the relevant ministries is ensured via membership or guest participation of the GFPs at Council meetings, committees and working groups. The Department of Gender Equality meets regularly with GFPs outside of Council meetings.
Independent equality body
The Public Defender of Rights (PDR) (Veřejný ochránce práv) is the independent equality body, whose mandate is designated by EU Directive 2002/73/EC, the Anti-discrimination Act (198/2009 Coll.) and the Act on the Public Defender of Rights. According to the Act on the Public Defender of Rights, it ‘…shall contribute to the promotion of the right to equal treatment of all persons irrespective of their race or ethnic origin, nationality, sex, age, disability, religion, belief, or opinions. Its functions include:
The Public Defender of Rights (PDR) Functions
- Researching gender equality issues and gender-sensitive analysis of policies and legislation
- Integrating gender equality considerations in EU and international affairs
- Publishing and disseminating gender equality-related information and conducting training
- Providing legal support for victims of discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender
- Deciding on complaints of discrimination on the grounds of sex
- Coordinating and/or implementing anti-discrimination (on grounds other than sex or gender) policies for the government
The PDR currently has four employees, who spend approximately a quarter of their time on projects specifically focused on gender equality, such as those funded by the Norwegian funds and the EEA funds. Funding for the administration of the PDR office and PDR projects and programmes is provided solely by the national government.
The PDR office actively monitors the legislative process to track all legislative proposals and provides comments on proposals in PDR relevant areas. The PDR may submit unbinding proposals themselves in the form of recommendations. Only one vote is allocated to the PDR office in the Government Council for Gender Equality.
In the parliament’s Chamber of Deputies, the Permanent Commission on Family Issues, Equal Opportunities and Minorities deals with gender equality issues. Similarly, within the Senate, this area falls under the remit of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions. Although still in existence, the Sub-Committee has been on hiatus since February 2017.
Consultation with civil society
The Department of Gender Equality discusses many of its activities with the Government Council for Gender Equality and its committees and working groups, in which civil society organisations and gender equality policy experts are represented.
Informal ad-hoc meetings are also held with key NGOs (e.g. the Czech Women’s Lobby). NGOs have been key partners in the drafting process of the Gender Equality Strategy for 2021-2030. The Department for Gender Equality co-organises conferences and other awareness-raising activities with NGOs and is regularly invited to attend events organised by NGOs.
Methods and tools
Gender impact assessment
A key tool used to implement gender mainstreaming is the use of impact assessments. The Rules of the Procedure of the Government (Article IV, paragraph 7(c)) includes an obligation to submit a gender impact assessment evaluation for all documents submitted to the government. The obligation states that: ‘[…/T]the submission report [must] always contain[s] an assessment of the current state and impact of the proposed solution on non-discrimination and equality between men and women, in so far as the proposed solution concerns the status of natural persons; the evaluation must explain the reasons for any differences, expected impact[s] or expected developments, using statistical or other data disaggregated by men and women, if such data are available.’
The Department of Gender Equality does not carry out gender awareness-raising activities to increase general sensitivity. Rather, the Government Council for Gender Equality, its committees, and working groups hold meetings that aim to increase general sensitivity to the issue of gender equality, especially among members of these bodies. Informal gender awareness-raising is part of the support provided by the Department of Gender Equality to various ministerial officers, including the GFPs in carrying out gender impact assessment.
Training and awareness-raising
No measures related to awareness-raising on gender equality or gender-sensitive language among ministries have been undertaken and so this aspect remains underdeveloped as a tool for gender mainstreaming.
In addition, only employees of the governmental body for gender equality and some other ministries, excluding employees at the highest political level, receive gender equality training regularly. It is only mandatory in some ministries.
The primary provider of statistical data in Czechia is the Czech Statistical Office, whose authority is set out in Act No 89/1995 Coll. on the State Statistical Service. However, there is no obligation for the Office or other public bodies to collect data disaggregated by sex.
The Czech Statisical Office’s website has a section on gender statistics, which includes a thematic breakdown by demography; health; education; labour and earnings; social security; justice and crime; decision-making; and women in research and development. Under each theme, there are data visualisations and the data can be downloaded for further use. Gender-disaggregated statistics are published annually by the Czech Statistical Office, including the 2021 publication of ‘Focus on men and women’ (Zaměřeno na ženy a muže) and the 2020 publication of ‘Women and Men in Data’ (Ženy a muži v datech). In addition to these statistical yearbooks, the Czech Statistical Office publishes data on wages disaggregated by gender quarterly. The unit responsible for promoting the production of sex-disaggregated data within the Czech Statistical Office is the Unit for Labour Forces, Migration and Equal Opportunities, located within the Labour Market and Equal Opportunities Statistics Department.
Since 2003, the agenda of the Department of Labour Market and Equal Opportunities Statistics has included the below activities related to gender statistics. The essential role of the Czech Statistical Office in collecting and publishing sex-disaggregated statistics is also included in the Strategy for Equality of Men and Women (2021-2030).
Czech Statistical Office Functions
- Collect and compile statistical data disaggregated in particular by gender and age, as well as analyse and present this data
- Conduct time series and studies in gender equality
- Propose changes to the current system of statistical monitoring of gender statistics
- Publish gender yearbooks e.g., ‘Focus on women and men’
- Collect and provide input for international gender statistics e.g., UN and Eurostat
- Coordinate with other governmental and non-governmental institutions, particularly with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Czechia on the monitoring of gender-disaggregated statistics and indicators
- Collaborate with Eurostat to harmonise indicators, methodologies, data collection and presentation of gender statistics
Indicators for monitoring progress on institutional mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the EU, under Area H of the Beijing Platform for Action
This section analyses the scores achieved by Czechia for data collection in 2021 for the four officially agreed-on indicators on institutional mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming to monitor progress on Area H of the Beijing Platform for Action. It also analyses scores under an expanded measurement framework which includes the role of independent gender equality bodies and assesses the effectiveness of efforts to disseminate statistics disaggregated by sex. Institutional mechanisms refer to national machineries that implement, monitor, evaluate, and mobilise support for policies that promote gender equality and gender mainstreaming. All indicators and sub-indicators are available on the Gender Statistics Database here, including metadata about how the scores are calculated.
For Indicator H1 on the status of commitment to the promotion of gender equality and taking into account only the governmental commitment in line with the officially adopted indicator, Czechia scored 7.0 out of a possible 12, below the EU average of 7.2. It had particularly low scores on sub-indicator H1e on accountability of the governmental gender equality body where it lost 4.0 points out of a maximum possible score of 5 because it does not have a national action plan on gender equality, although it does have a national strategy for gender equality.
Under an expanded measurement framework which includes sub-indicator H1f on the mandate and functions of the independent gender equality body, Czechia scored an additional 2.0 points, out of a possible 3. It lost 1.0 point because the mandate of the independent gender equality body is gender equality combined with other non-discrimination areas, rather than exclusively focused on gender equality. The overall score for the expanded H1 indicator was 9.0 out of a possible 15, below the EU average of 9.1.
Indicator H2 analyses the personnel resources of the national gender equality bodies. For sub-indicator H2a, regarding the governmental body, Czechia scored 1.0 out of a possible 2, which was the same as the EU average, because there were 10-25 employees in the governmental body. For sub-indicator H2b, regarding the independent body, Czechia scored 0.0, against an EU average of 0.8, because it has 0-5 employees in the independent body. For both sub-indicators, the maximum 2 points was awarded where the number of employees was over 100 as an indication of the body being sufficiently resourced.
Indicator H3 relates to gender mainstreaming. Here, Czechia scored 6.0 out of a maximum possible 12, which was above the EU average of 5.1. Czechia lost 4.5 points on sub-indicator H3c on the commitment to and use of methods and tools for gender mainstreaming, out of a maximum possible score of 6. This is because there is no legal obligation to undertake gender budgeting, no measures in place to raise awareness on the importance of gender-sensitive language among ministries and limited use of gender equality training among governmental staff. It gained 1.0 point for having a legal obligation in place to undertake ex-ante gender impact assessments.
Under an expanded measurement framework which includes sub-indicator H3d on consultation of the independent equality body, Czechia scored 6.0 out of a possible 14, which was also higher than the EU average which increased to 5.4. Under this sub-indicator, Czechia lost both available points because the independent gender equality body is only consulted by department or ministries on the gender impact of new or existing policies, law or programmes in a few cases.
For Indicator H4 on the production and dissemination of statistics disaggregated by sex, Czechia scored 4.0 points, just above the EU average of 3.4. It lost both available points for sub-indicator H4a on government commitment to the production of statistics disaggregated by sex because it had no such commitment in place. However, it scored all 4 available points for sub-indicator H4c on the effectiveness of efforts to disseminate statistics disaggregated by sex including 2.0 points because the national statistical office has a section of its website dedicated to gender statistics.
 Sectoral law on education (2004) https://www.zakonyprolidi.cz/cs/2004-561
 Sectoral law on employment (2006) https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/74435/76709/F-983979123/CZE74435 Cze.pdf
 European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination (2021) Country report on Czechia https://www.equalitylaw.eu/downloads/5487-czechia-country-report-gender-equality-2021-981-kb
 Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2030 (Strategie rovnosti žen a mužů 2021-2030) https://www.vlada.cz/assets/ppov/gcfge/Gender-Equality-Strategy-2021-2030.pdf
 Office of the Government, (nd) Action plans for Equality https://icv.vlada.cz/cz/ppov/rovne-prilezitosti-zen-a-muzu/dokumenty/akcni-plany-prosazovani-rovnosti-zen-a-muzu-135580/
 UN Women (n.d.) CSW64 preparations https://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw64-2020/preparations
 Government Council for Gender Equality (n.d.) Annual Reports of the Council https://www.vlada.cz/cz/ppov/rovne-prilezitosti-zen-a-muzu/dokumenty/vyrocni-zpravy-rady-195385/
 Ombudsman - Public Defender of Public Rights (n.d.) Information page https://www.ochrance.cz/en/o-nas/
 Permanent Commission on Family Issues, Equal Opportunities and Minorities (n.d.) Members https://public.psp.cz/en/sqw/snem.sqw?zvo=1&id=1321
 Senate Parliament of Czechia (n.d.) Sub-Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions (n.d.) https://www.senat.cz/organy/index.php?lng=en&ke_dni=21.4.2017&O=11&par_2=397
 Czech Statistical Office (n.d.) Gender https://www.czso.cz/csu/gender/1-gender_uvod
 Czech Statistical Office (2021). Focus on Women and Men https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/zaostreno-na-zeny-a-muze-s9uoog5djz
 Czech Statistical Office (2020). Women and Men in Data (Ženy a muži v datech) (2020) https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/zeny-a-muzi-v-datech-2020