07 SES 03 B, Women: Identity and Engagement
The link between social justice and education is a basement of thinking about world in Network 7. The question is however, where do we in our lives learn how to live according to this concept? This was the main purpose of conducting research among women around dissident movement before 1989 in the Czech Republic and those, who stayed active after 1989 – a year of political changes. There are many reasons why right this group might learn us something about social justice. Right these women were able to fight for this concept in situation, when majority did not perceive it as something possible and most of these women had to pay high price for this decision (Bárta & Němcová, 2003; Lukášová & Schillerová, 2006; Šilhánová, 2005; Vaněk & Urbášek, 2005). These women were at the same time exception if we take perspective of literature on women topic in Central and Eastern Europe.
Majority of women under socialism in all four Visegrad countries faced very similar social reality. There was one of the highest employment rate among women during communism (Einhorn & Sever, 2003; Hraba, Lorenz, & Lee, 1996; Haney, 1997; Matynia, 1994). But gender equality was only a kind of proclaimed reality (Einhorn & Sever, 2003). During communism, there was also quota system of women representation in politics. This situation caused several paradoxes after 1989 according to Matynia (1994). Allergy of women on feminism, escape from public to private life after 1989, lack of activities, which would support women topics after 1989 and lack of women in public life until present.
This all would pay for so called “grey zone” of inhabitants Šiklová (1990) - people, who somehow accepted totalitarian regime before 1989. But there were significant numbers of women, who actively participated in dissident movement. But even those women disappeared from politics after 1989 (Matynia, 1994). When we follow their lives, we find these women in politics only for a couple of months after 1989 and then they disappeared. And we recognize them again some years later in NGOs helping refugees, Roma minority, fighting for human rights (Bárta & Němcová, 2003; Lukášová & Schillerová, 2006; Šilhánová, 2005).
This fact became starting point for the research on how it is to be active and women at the same time. The research question, which would be basement for presentation in EERA, are follows:
- How does the fact of being women influences women engagement?
- How did it happen that women started to fight for social justice in their lives?
- Which role did formal education play in their decision to fight for social justice?
Bárta J. & Němcová D. (2003). Lidé mého života. [People of my life]. Praha: Portál. Einhorn, B. & Sever, Ch. (2003). Gender and Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe. Journal of Politics, 5, 163 – 190. Haney, L. (1997). „But We Are still Mothers“: Gender and the Construction of Need in Post-Socialist Hungary. Social Politics. Hraba, J., Lorenz, F., O. & Lee, G. (1996). Gender and Well-being in the Czech Republic. Sex Roles, 34, 517 – 533. Howell, J. (2007). Gender and Civil Society: Time for Cross-Border Dialogue. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, 14, 4, 415 – 436. Lukášová, V. & Schillerová, H. (2006). Ženy z fary. [Women from parish houses]. Praha: Kalich. Matynia, E. (1994). Women after Communism: A Bitter Freedom. Social Research, 61, 2, 352 – 377. Šiklová, J. (1990). The „Gray Zone“ and the Future of Disent in Czechoslovakia. Social Research, 57, 347 – 363. Šilhánová, Libuše. (2005). Ohlédnutí za životem. [Hindsight of life]. Praha: Portál. Vaněk, M. & Urbášek, P. (eds.). (2005). Vítězové? Poražení? Životopisná interview. [Winners? Loosers? Biographical interviews]. Praha: Prostor.
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