Women status in czech?

Discussion in 'Culture' started by irish_chick, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. irish_chick

    irish_chick Member

    I noticed somewhere on this site that U.S. woman can be considered 'feminists'. I was just wondering how Czechs would define this word. good thing/bad thing? And what place a woman has in Czech culture. Is she offered the same opportunities as a guy?

  2. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    I believe up until at least the early 1970's most women were expected to cook, clean and undertake any other household duties within the home. Many homes up until that point in time did not have many modern appliances and/or labour saving devices within the home because they were very expensive to buy. They used old fashioned kitchen stoves to cook on, which were heated by burning wood underneath. Also water was heated using a similar method of burning wood under a cold water cylinder. No central heating, where again there was a fire stove in the living room, which again was heated by burning wood during cold weather spells. Not many used refridgerators, so fresh food that would not keep had to be bought on a regular basis. Many women washed their clothes by hand. Many did not have vacuum cleaners. There were also often food shortages, when people had to join a long queue in order to get what they wanted. Lastly, there was no such thing as ready made meals, so all the meals had to be prepared from basic ingredients. Even having a television at that time was considered a luxury. I, therefore, do not think that married women back then would have had time to think of feminism. Also in the Czech Republic at that time great emphasis was placed on family values, where they also helped their grandparents and other close relatives.
  3. iluvuma1

    iluvuma1 Well-Known Member

    I was reading an article based on women's roles in the Czech Republic. Much of the article was based on employment and income ratios. University Educated women according to this article made 66% of what men with the same degrees make. Also, women who decided to study medicine were guided towards more "female oriented" types like pediatrics- and less encouraged to be a surgeon.
    It stated that women had a harder time getting employment if they were of childbearing age. (Due to extended maternity leave in CR...) A man her same age and experience is more likely to be hired.
  4. szarkafarka

    szarkafarka Well-Known Member

    Babička, you mixed up either country or century.

    In case of Czechoslovakia (at least Prague) 1970, it is close to nonsense.
  5. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    Szarkafarka - When I was in Prague at that time my grandparents and many of their friends lived as I described in my posting. I am not saying that everyone lived like that, as that would depend on each individual's financial income. For example, my aunty who had a Doctorate in Biology told me that even she was not able to pay for a black and white television in one payment, but instead had to have the payments spread over a very long period of time, whereas say in England in comparison that would not have been the case. The expensive cost of other items were also drawn to my attention at that time.
  6. szarkafarka

    szarkafarka Well-Known Member

    OK, doctor of biology (philology, ethnology, etc.) or a pensioner had rather lower income in that time. But your post sounds horrible, it is necessary to study some statistical annuals. Gas or electric stoves, simple (i.e. without programming) washing machines, vacuum cleaners, electric/gas water heaters/geysers, etc. were common at that time. Also all new houses had central heating. I must admit that my babička (grandmother) prepared pasta from basic ingredients (flour, water, egg, ...) ;-).
  7. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    The final comment I wish to make on this subject is that my grandparents lived in a first floor appartment of one of the old multi-storey buildings, which had not been mordernised at that time. That was in Praha 4.
    I am also pleased that you mentioned about the low income of a lady who had received a Doctorate, as that is useful information in relation to the subject of this topic.
  8. brigitte

    brigitte Well-Known Member

    I agree with Babicka - I have read similar accounts myself about CZ life circa 1970s.
  9. szarkafarka

    szarkafarka Well-Known Member

  10. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    The wood stoves are a clear exaggeration. All heating was done by coal, there were also coal-fuelled furnaces for central heating. Cooking was mostly done on gas stoves. The only wood-burning device I remember were the fireplaces in mountain chalets where wood is readily available.
  11. Luciaviolin

    Luciaviolin Member

    Hi Irish chick,

    I left Prague, about 10 years ago, because women were not offered the same opportunities as men. (The best thing I ever did :lol: ) I was pretty mad at the time, because they would not let us, women, audition for the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the most prestigious job for a Czech musician. It was the same with Berlin and Viena. Here in America the competition is cutthroat, but the auditions are open to any qualified candidate and are held behind a screen.
    I hope that things are improving. Last time I checked, the Berlin Philharmonic had a couple of women (one was a principle violist -yey!) :p
  12. Paint

    Paint Well-Known Member

    I realize that this thread first started nearly a year ago, but I don't think anyone addressed how things are now in regards to status and expectations of women. I have met career-women in the CR, I've met married women who have jobs, and I've met men who think that women are meant to stay home and be wives, or wives/mothers. Are any of these a majority trend? Does it depend on where in the country people are? Have changes been financially motivated, influenced by "feminist" trends in other countries, or both?
  13. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    No no no, you ae mistaken. Most Czech men still believe that their woman should hold full time job AND do all the housework.

    And yes, there is great misunderstanding of what word "feminist" means. They say they are "sick and tired of having "equal rights" as they had to do all the jobs just like men AND take care of everything else in household.... now they want to be just plain housewifes and stay at home. For that reason Feminist is almost dirty word among most of the Czech women. They seem to have very unfriendly opinions of any signs of such a behaviour.
  14. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    I have never met a married Czech woman who did not juggle a full-time job, motherhood and household chores ever since the Communists took over in 1948. That sufficiently explains the disdain for feminism - it's a burden rather than a privilege.

    The downside of feminism (if we exclude the economic necessity) is that many women who would be happy with the stay-at-home-Mom's lifestyle feel pressured to have a career.
  15. TallElf

    TallElf Member

    http://www.myczechrepublic.com/boards/v ... php?t=2243

    That pretty much sums up the commonly held view that Czech girls seem to have in regards to what feminism has done (and can do) to females.
  16. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    It's surprising that the Czech woman's definition of feminism doesn't extend to having the man in the house also do housework (after all, not ALL men are complete chauvinists!).
  17. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    LOL, Sova! It's not that we are not trying!
  18. Paint

    Paint Well-Known Member

    I almost feel attacked. I was only asking for information because I am a foreigner in relation to the Czech Republic, and I know the 10 or Czech nationals I know have fairly different values from each other, and it is hard for me to determine cultural patterns from them alone.

    On a different note, I do enjoy this site because I do get a lot of information from these boards...
  19. gypzy

    gypzy Well-Known Member


    I'm an American woman and I have to say I believe that American women are too feminist :!: Thanx, that's all I have to say :!:
  20. brook

    brook Well-Known Member

    Despite the stereotypes, not all women in America are man-hating, feminists. Not all feminists are man-hating. Not all Czech women disagree with feminism. And not all Czech men think women should stay at home. I think if you approach Americans or Czechs (or anyone for that matter) with stereotypes, you miss out on really getting to know the individuals you come into contact with. I recently got into an argument with an extremely racist czech, however, I don't blame the entire Czech nation for his beliefs or assume that all czechs share his beliefs.

    If you'd like to know more about women and women's status in the Czech Republic I recommend SVU's website (Czechoslovak Society of Arts & Sciences): http://www.svu2000.org/women/index.htm as well as an excellent article on women in Slovakia: http://www.svu2000.org/women/identities.htm

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