Women Can...

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.

Women from the Women’s National Council, including Milada Horáková (third from left), Eliška Krásnohorská Archive, Gender Studies, o.p.s.

Invitation of the Women’s National Council to the birthday celebration of Františka Plamínková, 1935, Eliška Krásnohorská Archive, Gender Studies, o.p.s.

Portrait of Františka Plamínková, Eliška Krásnohorská Archive, Gender Studies, o.p.s.

Can you help Milada find her way to the Parliament?