Prague (1. 4. 2021 ) – 7 days full of inspiration, motivation, sharing and mutual support – that is the 12th year of Equal Pay Day, which topped off on Thursday 1st of April 2021. The interest in being there was great among women and men. A total of 918 participants, 39 speakers and 60 mentors, who took the time to pay attention to the topic of equal pay, with the difference between men’s and women’s pay in the Czech Republic averaging 18.9 %, and equal opportunities are proof of this. Already today, you can write down the date of the 13th year in your diaries with a red pencil, which awaits us on the 8th and 9th of April 2022.
For the second time, the government restrictions sent this event, dealing with the issue of the pay gap, into the online format. The organisation Business & Professional Women CR, which is behind this event, took this fact as an opportunity that allowed the involvement of speakers and mentors not only from the Czech Republic but literally from all around the world. We could also meet, Slovak diplomat and politician Magdalena Vašáryová, British businesswoman Antonia Burrell, Director of Communications of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Jackie Brock Doyle or Global International Supply Chain Head in the brewing group AB InBev Flavia Gomes Aragao.
As part of the Equal Pay Day, we open topics that are important but little talked about in society. Smaller representation of women in public space, where their voices are not heard sufficiently, also plays a role. We point to them in a non-traditional light, professionally, but still understandably, through the stories of people who are not afraid to share them, with example of good czech and international practice that work. During the busy program, women and also men got the word, we listened not only to their opinions, but also often very strong personal stories. These were shared with us by women from the public sphere, entrepreneurs and representatives of companies, which have already realized that it pays out to create conditions for women to realize themselves. Speeches of women such as Daniela Hlaváčková, Market Head Slovakia of company Mars, Mounia El Hilali Acherkouk Yakhlef CEO & CSO IKEA CR, Slovakia, Hungary, Gabriela Bechynská, Corporate & Government Affairs Manager CZ/SK, Hungary Mondelez International, were according to the participants’ reactions full of „AHA“ moments, that can more forward not only women in their careers.
The topics that were „shaked“ were various, from the unequal pay of women and men, which was pointed out in the speech of Lenka Simerská, main manager of project 22 % K ROVNOSTI (22% TO EQUALITY), through equal opportunities to tips for setting the work-life balance. The atmosphere prevailing in the virtual hall during the conference was full of positive energy, determination to talk about topics that may not be comfortable for all of us, the desire of women to support each other.
Mutual support of women was one of the main ideas that resonated in a number of speeches at the conference. Danuše Nerudová, a prominent Czech economist and rector of Mendel University in Brno, expressed her need quite clearly when she said: ‘’Every woman who gets into a high position should try to create conditions for other women so that they can also succeed, and must be inspiration for others.“
That is why the events such as the Equal Pay Day and the non-profit organization Business & Professional Women CR have their irreplaceable place in the Czech public space. It opens a discussion that will play an important role in restoring the damage after the COVID-19 pandemic. „The world has changed perhaps more than we are willing to admit at the moment. But every change is an excellent opportunity to set new rules, think about new opportunities that the situation gives us and try to create a better world, a world in which we will all live better – from my point of view, especially a fairer world,“ says Lenka Šťastná, president of the non-profit organization Business & Pofessional Women CR z.s.
Equal Pay Day has been organized since 2010 by the public benefit organization Business & Professional Women CR z.s., which brings together active women who want to do much more than just business. The organization is part of the international network BPW International, which has been operating in more than 100 countries for 90 years. The founding member of the organization was the Czech senator Františka Plamínková. This organization in Czech Republic was founded in 2010 by Lenka Šťastná with the vision that when women come together, they can do incredible things.