Women from the Women’s National Council, including Milada Horáková (third from left), Eliška Krásnohorská Archive, Gender Studies, o.p.s.
Decide Not Only For Themselves
- In order to be seen and heard, women had to fight for their own voice. They gradually made their way into the public sphere and into top political positions.
- Božena Viková-Kunětická was the first woman to reach a political office. In 1912 she was elected to the Czech Provincial Assembly.
- A major milestone in Czechoslovak history came in 1920, when women achieved the right to vote. The support of President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, his wife Charlotte and daughter Alice Masaryková played a key role.
- Františka Plamínková was very active in the fight for women’s rights. Her efforts made her the first woman to hold a senatorial seat in 1925. She cooperated with Miladá Horáková within the Women’s National Council (Ženská národní rada), which brought together women’s associations and coordinated feminist activities.
- The activities of the women’s movement were interrupted by the Second World War, and some members were executed.
- After the onset of the communist regime, the activities of women’s associations were transformed under the Czechoslovak Union of Women umbrella political organisation in 1950.
- The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 brought the opportunity to freely choose political affiliation and civic engagement to women as well.