Seven Stellar Slovak Women


By Sharon Schweitzer

Continuing on the topic of Women’s History Month, here is a glimpse of seven spectacular Slovak women that changed history. 

Elena Marothy-Soltesova (the first feminist)-was a Slovak writer and editor. She was also a leading figure in the women’s movement in Slovakia. She served as chair of women’s society Živena, and worked for involvement of women in reform movements.  Additionally, she wrote novels Proti prúdu (1894) and Moje deti (1923–24)  as well as short stories, essays, reviews, and the memoir 70 rokov života (70 Years of Life, 1925). From 1910-1922 Elena edited magazine Živena and was the first female Slovak literary critic.

Maria Bellova (first female physician)- was a Slovak doctor and phthisologist, who mainly devoted herself to the treatment of childhood tuberculosis and is also known as the first female Slovak doctor in history. Her long-term and most important place of work was the Institute for Tuberculosis Children in Dolný Smokovec (today, it’s called the National Institute of Children’s Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, but Dolný Smokovec).  

Chaviva Reikova (Jewish resistance fighter)- was one of 32 or 33 parachutists sent by the Jewish Agency and Britain’s MI9 on military missions in Nazi-occupied Europe. Reik went to Slovakia in fall 1944 and worked with local Jewish people to resist the German occupation there. She established a camp for Russian prisoners of war who had escaped, and helped organize a Jewish resistance unit. 

Anna Stvrtecka (historian)-a member of the Communist Party since her participation in the SNP, would prove her courage by criticizing the politics of normalization, the establishment  of the status quo ante 1968. Anna was a historian who had started her career in the dire years of early Communism and, as a participant in the SNP and Party member, she was most interested in the Party’s history. With the beginning of of the liberalization in the early 1960’s, she published several articles in newspapers and journals such as Praca (Work), Pravda (Truth) and Kulturny zivot (Cultural life), concentrating on a revision of the history of the SNP. 

Magdalena Vasaryova (actress, diplomat, politician)-In 1971, she completed her studies at Comenius University in Bratislava. Until 1989, she acted in several Slovak theaters, including Slovak National Theatre, and in numerous movies. She was ambassador of Czechoslovakia in Austria (1990-1993) and ambassador of Slovakia in Poland (2000-2005). She was one of the candidates in the 1999 presidential election, but did not advance to the second round of the election. From February 2005 to July 2006, she held the position of State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia. In the 2006 parliamentary elections, she was elected to the National Council of the Slovak Republic for Slovak Democratic and Christian Union – Democratic Party.

Iveta Radicova (first female Prime Minister)- was a Slovak politician who served as prime minister of Slovakia from 2010 to 2012. She was the first woman to hold the position. Radičová led a coalition government as a member of the SDKÚ-DS. As prime minister, she was responsible for managing the economy after the Great Recession, and she supported budget cuts to reduce the government deficit. For the final months of her tenure, she also served as Minister of Defence. Prior to her tenure as prime minister, she was a member of parliament, the Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family, and an unsuccessful presidential candidate in the 2009 presidential election.

Adela Banasova  (face of young Slovakia)- is a Slovak radio and television presenter. She has presented television shows such as Česko Slovenská SuperStar 2009, the Anděl Awards and the Czech Lion Awards. She is a daughter of Slovak writer, agent of communist secret service (known as agent Lotos) and politician Jozef Banáš. She grew up in Eastern Germany together with her sister Maria. Living abroad helped her gain various language skills and experiences, but Vinczeová has been dedicated to her homeland, Slovakia. In 2015, Banášová won her ninth title at the OTO Awards, making her the most successful person in the ceremony’s history.


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, 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. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, 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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