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24 Jan 2019 19:00

Revolution Begins at Home: The Women of Czech Dissent

An evening dedicated to women active in the Czech dissent movement and Charter 77 during the Czechoslovak communist regime of the 1970s and 1980s and the ways in which women engaged in the different currents of political and cultural resistance. Sociologist and gender scholar Marcela Linková and journalist Naďa Straková will be joined by former dissident Kamila Bendová and writer, editor and dissident kid Tobiáš Jirous to talk about the recent publications Revolution Begins at Home: The Women of Czech Dissent (eds. Linková & Straková, 2017) and Tweets 1956-1963, secret diaries of Charter 77 signatory Věra Jirousová edited by her son Tobiáš Jirous.

Published in 2017 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Charter 77, Revolution Begins at Home: The Women of Czech Dissent is a collection of interviews portraying twenty-one women who weren’t afraid to stand up to the Normalisation regime in Czechoslovakia during the 1970s and 1980s.

These fascinating interviews contribute to our understanding of the ways in which women engaged in the different currents of the Czech dissident manifesto Charter 77 (the intellectuals, the Christians, the reform Communists and the cultural underground), in both, large cities and in the countryside. An English translation is due in a few weeks' time - in spring 2019. 

A rare find, Věra Jirousová’s childhood and teenage diaries show a strong personality in the making. It is the second half of the 1950s and Stalin died shortly before. The atmosphere in society is changing but in the working class neighbourhood of Prague where Věra is growing up, her father – a file-and-rank communist – cannot cope with having an opinionated and strong-willed daughter. Ten years on Věra is an art curator, cooperating with the most progressive artists of the time and with the psychedelic band The Plastic People of the Universe. In 1977 she is among the first signatories of Charter 77.


Tickets: £7 pounds + booking fee via Eventbrite



Dr. Marcela Linková is a researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences where she directs the Centre for Gender and Science of the Institute of Sociology of Czech Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on sociology of gendered organizations, research careers, governance of research and research assessment from a gender perspective. She is the chair of the ERAC Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation. 

Naděžda Straková graduated from the Department of British and American Studies, Charles University in Prague. In the past she worked for the Czech Bureau of BBC World Service, daily online Aktuálně.cz and RESPEKT weekly magazine. Now she works as a media coordinator at the Institute of Sociology of Czech Academy of Sciences.

RNDr. Kamila Bendová is a Czech mathematician and logician. A mother of six, she worked for the Czech Academy of Science and was a senior lecturer in logics at the Faculty of Humanities in Prague. Before the Velvet Revolution in 1989 she was an active dissident opening up her family's home to meetings and cultural activities. Her husband philosopher, mathematician, spokesman for Charter 77 and author of the seminal text Parallel Polis Václav Benda, was in prison for 4 years, and later became a politician a collaborator of president Václav Havel.

Tobiáš Jirous is a Czech writer, actor and musician. Son of art historian, poet and dissident Věra Jirousová, he spent his childhood in the Czech dissident and underground circles and was not allowed to enter academic education during Communism. He instead studied gardening and worked in several odd jobs. After the 1989 regime change, he studied at the Prague Academy of Arts. He has published several poetry collections, stories and novels, formed the band The Models and starred in films such as Cabriolet, Toyen or Alois Nebel.

Cover image: Photograph from secret police archives taken by a secret police officer who was following Ivanka Hyblerová (code name balerina) in 1981 when she was nine months pregnant.






Czech Embassy Cinema 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, W84QY, London


24 Jan 2019 19:00


Czech Centre

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