A record number of women are running in this years’ local elections in the Czech Republic. According to figures released by Forum 50 %, which promotes the equal representation of women in politics, the proportion of women running in local elections has doubled over the past twenty years. However, despite the positive trend, the Czech Senate still remains largely male-dominated territory. I spoke to Jana Smiggels-Kavková of Forum 50% about the outcome of their survey:
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority found 19 cases of Romany and Russian consumers being discriminated against in the first six months of the year, the agency said in a press released on Monday. On two occasions, Russian clients were denied accommodation in Czech hotels over the situation in Ukraine, the authority said. In four cases, real estate agents discriminated against their Romany customers by setting restrictive conditions for them, and in one case, Romany clients were not granted entry into an unspecified establishment. The authority also found that foreign customers are often charged higher prices compared to locals.
The Czech Senate on Thursday hosted a gathering against anti-Semitism to raise awareness of the anti-Jewish moods generated by the recent conflicts in Gaza. Head of the Jewish Museum in Prague, Leo Pavlát, warned against media manipulation in covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. The participants of the gathering, initiated by Senator Daniela Filipiová of the Civic Democratic Party, called on the president Miloš Zeman and the Czech government to send a clear message that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated.
Romany women in the Czech Republic generally have a low level of education, make on average 10,000 crowns a month and live in a rented flat with their family, according to the outcome of a Charles University survey on the life of Romany women. The vast majority marry young –between the age of 18 and 21, close to 40 percent of them have three or more children and singlehandedly shoulder the burden of looking after the household. The vast majority said they had faced discrimination when looking for a job or flat.
A project aimed at presenting the history and culture of Islam to Czech students in view of building a multicultural, tolerant society has hit the rocks. The Czech Education Ministry announced on Thursday it was withdrawing its support for the project after receiving numerous complaints from parents.
Lukáš Houdek is a man of varied interests. As well as being a photographer who has explored the post-war massacres of Czechoslovakia’s ethnic Germans, he is co-curator of an exhibition entitled Transgender Me that gets underway in Prague on Monday. In addition, Houdek, a Romani Studies graduate, writes for a leading Roma affairs website; indeed, for much of our interview I was under the mistaken impression that he himself was a member of the ethnic minority.
In a recent edition of Czech Books, we spoke to the Romany writer, Irena Eliášová. She mentioned that her novel, November, had been published earlier this year by an internet publisher. This inspired David Vaughan to find out more about Romany writing in the digital age, and he discovered that Czech Roma have embraced the social media in a big way.
Czech Ombudswoman Anna Šabatová has stirred heated debate on the Czech political scene by standing up for two students who were banned from wearing headscarves at a medical school in Prague. Politicians across the political spectrum as well as President Miloš Zeman have criticized her move, arguing that foreigners should respect Czech cultural traditions.
Scores of Ukrainians marked the 23rd anniversary of their country’s independence in Prague on Sunday. With some participants wearing Ukrainian folk costumes or carrying national symbols, the group marched across Charles Bridge to náměstí Kinských in Prague 5, where they laid wreathes at a monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. The gathering was intended to celebrate Ukraine’s independence in 1991 and to highlight the current crisis in the country, where armed conflict with pro-Russian rebels is continuing in the east. A further gathering of Ukrainians in Prague was planned for Wenceslas Square later on Sunday.
Along with Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Persecuted, the Czechoslovak Helsinki Committee was a key dissident organisation in the communist period, pressuring the government to adhere to its human rights commitments. Today known as the Czech Helsinki Committee, it is still active, advocating for people who often have nowhere else to turn. I discussed the committee’s work with its director, Lucie Rybová. But I first asked her about the reasons for its establishment, in November 1988.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
An Experiment in Vivisection: Czechoslovakia’s Second Republic 1938-1939