Fair University: looking for participants for group interviews

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 14:45

At the beginning of October, a survey of female and male employees of Palacký University Olomouc was completed with the aim of surveying equal employment opportunities at UP as part of the Fair University campaign. The questionnaire survey, which is an important milestone in the creation of the Equal Opportunities Plan at UP, focused on issues of support for career growth at UP, reconciliation of private and family life, including support for employees after returning from parental leave, and finding out about employees' experiences with inappropriate behaviour or sexual harassment in the workplace. Both academic and scientific staff and other employees had the opportunity to complete the questionnaire.

The detailed analysis of the questionnaire survey results will be immediately followed by group interviews with selected groups of employees and individual interviews with university management representatives. Based on the results of all activities, the overall picture of the current situation in the field of equal employment opportunities at UP will be established. "At this moment we want to reach out to all male and female employees to actively participate in the group interviews that will take place from 2 to 4 November," said Markéta Šupplerová, coordinator of the preparation of the Equal Opportunities Plan at UP. The research team is looking for employees in the following categories:

  • Academics and researchers (women and men) aged 55+;
  • Female and male employees caring for children under 10 years of age;
  • Female and male employees within 2 years of returning from parental leave (or maternity leave);
  • Academics and researchers (women and men) up to 5 years after obtaining a PhD (post-doc);
  • Female and male employees in the non-academic positions;
  • Academic and scientific staff (except academic/research workers within 5 years of obtaining Ph.D.).

"If you belong to one of the above-mentioned groups and would like to share your experience of working at UP, please apply by e-mail to marketa.supplerova@upol.cz  said Markéta Šupplerová.

Preliminary results of the questionnaire survey

The research team is currently working on analysing the results of the questionnaire survey and presenting preliminary findings. They show that the vast majority of respondents consider working conditions for men and women to be comparable. However, one in five participants in the survey thinks that the university definitely or more likely does not create comparable conditions. This opinion is shared by only 6% of men.

On the question of career development opportunities, differences can be observed in the responses of academic/research workers on the one hand and other employees on the other. In the case of academic/research workers, 71% of respondents think that the university supports their career development, while among other employees 55% of respondents agree with this statement.

We also investigated whether employees perceive any systemic barriers to career development for women and men in the university environment. An equal 28% of men and women said they definitely or rather perceive barriers. More than a third of men are clearly convinced that the university environment does not create systemic barriers, while only 15% of women respondents hold this opinion.

In the answers to what specific systemic barriers are perceived by female and male employees as key, there was practically only one argument from both women and men. On the part of the institution, there is little support for women on and after maternity leave and difficult conditions for career development while caring (especially for children). As one respondent commented, "Scientific growth (associate professorship) is conditional on a stay abroad. In the case of women with children, this is almost unfeasible."

The questionnaire also asked about any experiences of unethical or inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The responses showed that men were slightly more likely to have experienced some form of bullying at work (35%). Around 10% of respondents had experienced sexual harassment.

537 employees participated in the Czech questionnaire and 27 in the English questionnaire. "The return rate is 18%, so we are aware that we have to interpret the results with some restraint. However, we still think that the low participation does not mean that there is no interest in the issue of equal employment opportunities at UP, rather it is a signal for us that we need to better communicate the topic to employees and constantly emphasize the importance of the topic for the development of a modern educational institution," said Milena Kysučanová, head of the UP Personnel Management Office.