Chapter

The New ‘Woman Question’: Gender, Nation, and Citizenship in the First Czechoslovak Republic

Melissa Feinberg

in Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe, 1918–1948

Published by British Academy

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780197263914
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734359 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263914.003.0004

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The New ‘Woman Question’: Gender, Nation, and Citizenship in the First Czechoslovak Republic

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This chapter discusses the question of women's citizenship in the new Czechoslovakia and how the ‘Woman Question’ evolved after 1918. The strong women's movement from pre-war days was largely satisfied by the 1918 ‘revolution’: Czech feminism fitted closely with Masarykian notions of democracy. The events of October 1918 fundamentally changed the debate over women's rights in the Bohemian lands. Within weeks, many Czechs had acknowledged that both men and women would be politically active in the new Czechoslovak Republic, treating universal suffrage as a given of the new political climate. Czech feminism linked an unswerving belief in gender equality with an equally unshakeable faith in liberal democracy, not only as the guarantor of women's rights, but as the essence of the Czech nation. This philosophy had many roots, but was perhaps most closely tied to the work of Tomáš Masaryk.

Keywords: Czechoslovakia; Woman Question; citizenship; women; women's rights; Tomáš Masaryk; liberal democracy; feminism; gender equality; universal suffrage

Chapter.  8162 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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