Image Credit: https://www.nationaalarchief.nl/ Věra Čáslavská at the 1967 European gymnastics championships.
In our continued observance of Women’s History Month, we are honoring just a few of the numerous prominent Czech women artists, athletes, politicians, rulers and scientists. There are thousands of women who have impacted culture, history, and society in the current Czech lands, and globally. Take our True or False Quiz below and test your knowledge regarding Czech women:
- Milada Horáková, a politician and underground resistance movement member during World War II, was a victim of judicial murder, convicted and executed by the nation’s Communist Party on fabricated charges of conspiracy and treason.
- Madeleine Albright, a Czech-born American, as a public official, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1993–97) and was the first woman to hold the cabinet post of U.S. secretary of state (1997–2011).
- Charlotte Garrigue-Masaryk, the U.S. American-born wife of the Czechoslovak president and politician, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia, was an enthusiastic advocate of women’s rights and encouraged women to fully utilize their talents and engage in political activity.
- Dr. Alice Masaryková or Alice Garrigue Masaryk, was one of the best-known women globally in social welfare; founder of the sociology department at Prague’s Charles University and the Czech Red Cross; one of the first women elected to the 1918 Czechoslovakian parliament headed by her grandfather Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first Czech president. After her mother Charlotte’s 1923 death, Alice succeeded her as the First Lady.
- With 56.2 out of 100 points, The Czech Republic ranks 23rd on the Gender Equality Index.
- Věra Chytilová was an avant-garde Czech film director and a pioneer of the Czech cinema. In the 1980s, she was banned by the Czechoslovak government. She was best known for her Czech New Wave film, Sedmikrásky.
- While it only ranked 26th in 2015, the Czech Republic was voted the best country for women working abroad in the latest Expat Insider survey (Forbes).
- Věra Čáslavská As the only gymnast, male or female, to win an Olympic gold medal at every individual event, she represented the height of gymnastic success as a Czech gymnast. Winning a total of 34 medals, including 22 gold medals, at the Olympic Games and at world and European championships in the 1950s and ’60s; she went on to serve as the Czech Olympic Committee President.
- Elisabeth Junek (Eliška Junková) was a Czech automobile racer, regarded as one of the greatest female drivers in Grand Prix motor racing history, and is the first woman to win a Grand Prix event. Junekova and her husband were sharing a drive at the 1928 German Grand Prix, when he tragically died in an accident after he assumed the wheel from her. Junekova immediately retired.
- Marie Schmolková was a Jewish humanitarian who helped form a network that transported thousands of Jews and other Nazi targets to safety in Great Britain. This feat included 600 Jewish children who later became known as ‘Winston’s Children.’
- Zdena Tominová was a prominent dissident and writer who was one of the first signatories and spokespersons of Charter 77, a document signed by 243 people, mostly intellectuals, addressed to the Czechoslovak government protesting human rights violations by the state. The human rights were guaranteed by the United Nations and the Helsinki Conference and subscribed to by the Czechoslovak government.
- Martina Navrátilová: A Czech-born professional tennis player and coach, she emigrated to the U.S. in 2005. Tennis Magazine named her greatest female tennis player for a 30-year time period from 1975-2005. She is considered one of the best female tennis players of all time.
Answer key: 1.T 2.F (Albright was the secretary of state from 1997-2001) 3.T 4.F (Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was her Father) 5.T 6.F 7.T 8.T 9.T 10.T 11.T 12.T
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.
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