Report: Coronavirus is deepening inequality in Czech society

The Covid-19 epidemic has deepened inequality affecting mainly women in the Czech Republic, while the problem of inaccessible housing is worsening. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.09.2021 17:00:00 (updated on 30.09.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Deepening inequality in the Czech Republic due to the Covid-19 pandemic primarily affects women, while housing availability continues to worsen, says a national report of the Czech arm of the Social Watch (SW) coalition released today.

The Czech government fails to fulfill goals in the area of climate protection and development aid. Politicians are protecting the firms' interests rather than inhabitants, the report writes.

"We are finding the same issues on all levels...the pandemic has strengthened the existing problems, mainly that of inequality," SW Czech coalition chairman Jiri Silny said.

The Social Watch international network operates in some 100 countries, associating several hundred organizations. It annually issues reports assessing progress and shortcomings in the fight against poverty and promoting gender equality.

Since 2015, when the U.N. adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, Social Watch has also focused on monitoring the commitments leading to the fulfillment of these goals.

Ten organizations are associated with the Czech SW coalition. This year's report was entitled "Corporate Interests Crushing Planet and Democracy."

According to Silny, inequality in access to care has increased in the world. Poor countries are short of Covid vaccines. In the Czech Republic, the coronavirus infection spread has affected primarily women, he added.

"They experienced an unequal position before the epidemic, either in income or in same positions (as men) or carrying a larger burden of unpaid work. Besides, women make up to 80 percent of employees in social and health care services. These fields were exposed to the highest pressures and risks. The impacts were fatal in many cases," Silny said.


Apartment for rent, 1+KK - Studio, 35m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+KK - Studio, 35m2

Tusarova, Praha 7 - Holešovice

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 12m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 12m2

Molákova, Praha 8 - Karlín

He also mentioned the rise in incidences of domestic violence during the pandemic.

The report's authors recommend that the Czech Republic adopt the Istanbul Convention on the elimination of violence against women. Its signatory countries should take preventive measures to eliminate violence against women, persecute and suppress violent crimes, contribute to gender equality, prepare a plan to protect victims of violence, and support institutions and organizations fighting it.

In the past few years, the SW annual reports have called the lack of access to housing a fundamental problem.

The 2021 report points to the rising prices of flats and the worsening situation due to the insufficient construction of new flats and speculative purchases. The SW coalition is of the view that support for new housing construction projects and progressive taxation of real estate would help solve the problem.

The report says the Czech Republic is not fulfilling its development aid commitments, spending only 0.13 percent of GDP on such targets instead of the promised 0.33 percent. Prague does not focus on aid to the poorest countries, but rather pursues its commercial interests, Silny said.

Czech Republic also lags behind in the fulfillment of the sustainable development goals, he added. The SW report says both the government coalition and opposition politicians failed during the coronavirus epidemic.

"If the government does not count with the participation of citizens and does not protect them sufficiently, but protects the interests of private firms, either Czech or supranational ones, this stirs up people's mistrust and threatens democracy," Silny stressed.

The document also criticizes the insufficient fulfillment of the goals in the protection of climate and against drought. The Czech approach is too little ambitious and the country's use of European subsidies lacks concept, it says.

The SW coalition also warns that the production of Czech arms makers ends up in the countries violating human rights.

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