Research has long pointed to various barriers faced by women in research (prejudices, barriers associated with parenthood, higher levels of job insecurity, etc.) and which lead to their more frequent withdrawal from science. For the Czech research ecosystem, the departure of women means the loss of highly educated people, their expertise, creativity, perspectives and experience. A substantial part of the educated population thus loses the opportunity to participate through research and innovation in the creation of knowledge and shaping of the world in which society as a whole should live. This fact can be negatively reflected not only in a wasted chance to increase the society’s quality of life, but also in the failure to use all available resources of the knowledge economy.
The Czech Republic has long been one of the EU countries with the lowest representation of women in research, and their share has been stagnating for a long time. In 2018, the share of women was even the lowest within the EU (Eurostat, 2020).
Promotion of gender balance in the ZÉTA programme
The ZÉTA programme is the first programme in the Czech Republic that focuses on supporting equal opportunities for the incoming generation of men and women in applied research. Its duration is planned for the period 2017-2022.
In the ZÉTA programme, we make it possible to increase the age limit of 35 years by the time spent on parental leave, by the time spent caring for minors or by the period of long-term illness.
In the evaluation of project proposals, we take into account the gender-balanced composition of the research teams (min. 35%) and the fact that the project is led by a woman. The total score for the research team takes into account considerations such as the roles and responsibilities of men and women in the team (men and women should occupy positions that allow a similar development of their expertise).
The gender diversity of the research team must be sustained throughout the implementation of the entire project. In the case of changes in the team that reduce its diversity, clarification is required as to what steps have been taken to maintain it.
Promotion of gender balance in the ÉTA programme
The ÉTA programme focuses on supporting social sciences, humanities and arts in the field of applied research and innovation. The research projects should respond to the societal challenges and opportunities of the 21st century and focus on one or more of the following aspects: 1) linking technical and non-technical research, 2) utilizing the benefits of multidisciplinary approaches, 3) extracting potential outputs of basic research for application.
If the research team presented in the project proposal provides scope for research work of both women and men, this is perceived as a reason for awarding a higher score for the criterion devoted to project personnel. In the event that the scope for equal opportunities for men and women in the research team is not used, this is a reason to reduce the score by a maximum of one grade of the rating scale. (However, the size of the research team and the availability of female and male experts in individual scientific disciplines are also taken into account.)
Promotion of gender balance in the KAPPA programme
The KAPPA programme focuses on the development of knowledge and research through international cooperation between entities from the Czech Republic and partners from Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
In the event that two project proposals receive the same score in the evaluation, one of the factors for determining the final ranking is, among others, whether the main investigator of a particular project is a woman.