At the beginning of September, news appeared in the media that 32-year-old Michaela Sarska would join the emergency unit of firefighters from the station in Holesovice, Prague. In doing so, she became the first woman to qualify for this position in the Czech Republic.

However, as I explained in an interview with iRozhlas.cz, it wasn’t that the women failed the entrance tests. Their requests were flatly denied by the fire department. She changed her mind only in the case of Michaela, who previously worked as a volunteer firefighter. In addition to the positive feedback, there were those who said it would spoil the firefighters’ trips because they would be afraid of them. In addition, her colleagues gave her a “last aid kit” with lipstick, mascara and a hair tie.

pink collars

The Czech labor market is burdened with a high degree of gender segregation. Thus men and women are concentrated in different occupations and in different jobs. Mostly feminine sectors include, for example, education or health care. At the same time, it is usual that even in industries dominated by women, leadership positions are often occupied by men.

With regard to professions that are dominated by women, there is also talk of so-called “pink collars”, usually nurses, secretaries or social workers, and wages are usually lower in these fields. It also often happens that the more women penetrate into a previously male profession, the lower their financial rating will also be.

The examples of women who have managed to break into stereotypical male careers are clearly positive, but at the same time they do not mean that the entire job market is changing.

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