8 Czech Women Known Throughout the Entire World

8 Czech Women Known Throughout the Entire World

To celebrate International Women's Day, we have prepared a list of Czech ladies who have made it to the very top in their fields of specialisation.

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The eighth of March is a day dedicated to women, and therefore we have selected eight ladies from a small country right at the heart of Europe who have made it to the very top in their chosen professions. The Czech Republic is rightfully proud of its famous women and likes to remind the rest of the world that one particular lady born in Prague was the first woman to become a US Secretary of State, or that a female-architect from the Moravian town of Zlín designed a number of buildings in London. You can read more about these and others right here.

1. Madeleine Albright

This Czech heroine was born in 1937 in Prague  as Marie Jana Körbelová, later to be called Madeleine. Her father was a diplomat who had to flee to London before the Second World War. When the war ended, he and his family returned to Czechoslovakia but after the communist coup, they left for the USA. Madeleine Albright studied political science and received a PhD degree. Thanks to her professional qualities and contacts, she became involved in politics and was later appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President Bill Clinton. In 1997 she became the Secretary of State of the United States, the first woman to hold that position. She was very successful in this office, which was recognised by Barack Obama in 2012, when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award of the USA.

2. Martina Navrátilová

One Czech woman from Prague, whose life is also closely connected with the USA, is the tennis player Martina Navrátilová. At first she played for the Czechoslovakian team, but later represented the USA. She was World No. 1 for a total of 332 weeks and won 59 Grand Slams, making her one of the most successful tennis players of all time. Currently she supports a number of charitable projects all around the world. In the Czech Republic, she has been involved in the renovation of Stromovka Park in Prague which was badly damaged by the destructive floods in 2002. In addition, she is a proud advocate of gay and lesbian rights all over the world. She herself came out as a lesbian at a time where it was not considered usual. Today she campaigns for equality and against the discrimination of gay people.

3. Eva Jiřičná

Eva Jiřičná, a world renowned architect, was born in the Moravian town of Zlín. Although she has lived in Britain for many years, she still declares herself to be Moravian. She studied architecture in Prague and in 1968 went to London for an internship where she stayed to live. She is famous mainly for designing renowned fashion retail stores in London and New York. Her works also include the grand entrance and reception of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She is the author of numerous projects in the Czech Republic, such as several buildings of the Tomas Bata University in her hometown of Zlín, and she also participated in designing the interiors of the Dancing House in Prague.

4. Magdalena Kožená

Magdalena Kožená, also referred to by her title of Lady Rattle, is a world famous opera singer who lives with her family in Berlin. Her husband is the British conductor Sir Simon Rattle; they were married in Brno, Magdalena Kožená’s hometown. The famous mezzo soprano has received many awards. She won the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg Austria, which triggered her successful career. Among the highlights of her career are the several performances she gave at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Magdalena Kožená speaks quite a few languages, but to her children she speaks only in Czech.

5. Dagmar Pecková

Another famous Czech mezzo soprano is Dagmar Pecková, born near the town of Chrudim in East Bohemia. During her career she has performed in operas in Vienna, Madrid, London, Tokyo, Zurich, Montreal, Moscow and other celebrated cities throughout the world. She regularly takes part in the biggest music events, such as the music festivals in Edinburgh and Salzburg. She also performed at the prestigious Prague Spring festival of classical music.

6. Daria Klimentová

The next famous Czech woman on our list has also performed in theatres all around the world - not as a singer but as an unrivalled ballet dancer. Daria Klimentová is the delicate and elegant prima ballerina of the National Theatre in Prague. She started her career in the Cape Town ballet company, and later joined the English National Ballet as prima ballerina. Her work was acclaimed by British audiences as well as by the media which published a number of positive reviews of her performance in Nutcracker at a time when she was 39 years old. She had danced in over a thousand shows by the year 2010.

7. Eliška Junková

Another world renowned Czech woman is the “Queen of the Steering Wheel” Eliška Junková. Born in Olomouc, she was the fastest female motor racer of her time and the only woman in history that was able to compete with the best men in Grand Prix racing. She raced in Bugatti cars, first as a co-driver with her husband and later on her own. She ended her career in 1928 after her husband was killed in a race. For her achievements she was awarded the title Meritorious Sports Champion.

8. Františka Plamínková

If the name Františka Plamínková sounds familiar to you, it may be because you have seen it on Google, which marked her 141st birthday on February 5, 2016, by changing its logo to an animated Doodle dedicated to her. In this way Google commemorated the enormous contribution Františka Plamínková made to women’s rights, and not only in the Czech Republic. Františka Plamínková became the third Czech female featured in Google Doodle, the other two being the writer Božena Němcová and the illustrator Helena Zmatlíková.
 
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