Book Launch of House Revolt: How Women Did Dissent

On the day commemorating the change of the regime in Czechoslovakia, 17 November 2017, the book called Bytová revolta: Jak ženy dělaly disent (House Revolt: How Women Did Dissent) was launched in the Lucerna Gallery. Of the 21 women presented in book 19 were present at the launch.

During her opening speech, Marcela Linkova of the Centre for Gender and Science, one of the co-editors and mastermind behind the book explained why the Centre team launched the project Women in dissent. “One of the first inspirations to document the work of women in the Czechoslovak dissident movement were my debates with art historian and dissident Vera Jirousova. She always maintained women played a big role in the dissident movement. Vera thought it unfair women dissidents are not as visible and known as men.”

“I am very proud of this book,” said Eva Zazimalová, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences at the book launch. “Women may fear for their children more than men but I am convinced that women are also more patient and resilient than men,” said Eva Zazimalova. She thanked all women in dissent for what they did to achieve democracy in Czechoslovakia. Ivan M. Havel, brother of late president Vaclav Havel, said “women dissidents were not imprisoned as often as men dissidents because they were smarter.”

The book of interviews presents the experience of 21 women who stood up to the communist regime. Czechoslovak women dissidents were Charter 77 speakers, samizdat writers and smugglers, protest organizers, and most of them were also mothers and wives. They participated at every level of the dissident movement. There was no division between major and minor activities among the dissidents themselves. The book also examines the ways the State Police gendered persecution against them and what gendered ways the women employed against the oppressive regime.