Int'l Women's Day marked at Kampus Hybernská

Monday, 11 March 2024

Ever wondered how women in top positions handle their jobs and what they prioritise in terms of their teams? Or why so many find the time to pursue sport and physical activity in their free time? This year the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport of Charles University marked International Women's Day with a high-profile event and Forum was there. ”Sport is all about a sense of fair play, which is very useful in everyday life,” participants at “Inspirational Women” debate at Didaktikon, held Friday at Kampus Hybernská, agreed.

dovnitř 1

The debate was moderated by deft public speaker a popular host and Vice Dean for External Relations and Development, Aleš Vlk.  The event was divided into two round table discussions.

The first debate brought together women working in top management positions (Left side Photo 1, from left): two-time former Minister of Education Miroslava Kopicová, the rector of Charles University, Milena Králíčková, the representative of the European Commission in the Czech Republic Monika Ladmanová and the rector of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Ingeborg Radok Žádná.

The second discussion brought together women professionally involved in sports and related activities (right side Photo 2, from left): the general manager of Balance Club Brumlovka Petra Tyrpeklová, physiotherapist and politician Michaela Šebelová, athlete and sports journalist at Czech Television Kateřina Nekolná, moderator and vice-president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and president of the Czech Chamber of Fitness Jana Havrdová.

dovnitř 2dovnitř 3
Photo 1.                                                                                                                                             Photo 2.

Inspiring others, changing things for the better

A relaxed atmosphere contributed to frank and open discussion. “I would say I am someone who simply enjoys life,” Miroslava Kopicová said, “I like to work, especially with people who are better than me in their fields. I try to complete tasks as best I can. And everything else is luck.” Not a bad way to describe a successful career. How do busy professional women relax? On weekends or at least with an evening walk, ideally with one's partner and the family dog. “It is essential to switch off for at least a while and deal with something other than work,” AMU Rector Ingeborg Radok Žádná.

Each participant agreed that they need the support of loved ones to build a career. “Family means relaxation for me. I relax the most, for example, when cooking and baking with my daughters at the weekend. But even then I don't turn off the computer. I know that I have to learn to do that as well,” admitted CU Rector Milena Králíčková. She added that she enjoys her work immensely and during her time at the Faculty of Medicine in Plzeň she wanted to change things systematically for the better. “When you see that something could be done better, it is hard not to try to do it differently. And I often felt that things would work better if I was at the helm,” she said, outlining one of the key personal motivations in her career.

dovnitř 4

The heart of the matter

Monika Ladmanová thinks along similar lines. “The most important thing for me has always been to do what you believe in. And as you get further in knowledge and skills, you get deeper into the system and you want to be closer to the heart of the matter. That's what brought me to the European structures,” the European Commission representative for the Czech Republic explained. Ladmanová works on human rights and gender equality issues. “I am really happy that we finally have a pro-European president. And I think that after 20 years of our membership in the European Union, it is time for Czech society to reassess its overall view of the EU and recognise that membership is not really 'about us without us', but that we are part of it,” she pointed out.

What makes the rector of Charles University happy? “In spite of the difficult situation, Charles University is doing well, we are trying to solve things together in the management, we are constantly moving forward. For example, we are applying for more and more international grants, we are really good! And I am also pleased that we managed to work together after the tragedy of 21 December and our Faculty of Arts is gradually returning to normal life. I would like to thank Lenka Henebergová for her incredible activity and individual help to all the affected students,” Milena Králíčková said, praising the current Vice-Dean for Internationalisation and International Relations at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport.

dovnitř 6dovnitř 7

Under a microscope

The second roundtable with women in sport was also dedicated to personal stories and work experiences related to equal opportunities. Again, it was an open and frank discussion. For example, Kateřina Nekolná, an editor at Czech Television, recalled a crucial professional mistake, when she mistakenly ‘sent’ Sparta to the Champions League instead of cross-city rivals Slavia, and described how she was raked over the coals in the social media. She even had to publicly apologise for it. “Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, it is more visible on TV. But I am convinced that if a man had made it, he would not have provoked such as angry response,” Kateřina Nekolná.

Her former colleague from Czech Television, Jana Havrdová, by contrast admitted that in her family, domestic activities were divided along traditional male and female roles. “I'm definitely in favour of breaking down traditional stereotypes, everyone should be free to set things up their own way and society should respect that,” the former TV moderator summed up.


Michaela Šebelová followed up by saying that only 26 % of the Czech Parliament is composed of women and vividly described how after the elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic she was known for the “leapfrog of the year” (she rose from 14th place in the list of candidates to first place thanks to the preferential votes – editor’s note), security guards refused to let her into the building because  she didn’t conform to stereotypes of how a female MP should look. “I am not in favour of introducing quotas because the environment may not be ready for it. But I am in favour of quotas at least in our  minds, so that we remember that every team works better in a mixed form than when it is made up of only men or only women,” Šebelová explained, outlining that women and men alike should consider a balanced option rather than one heavily leaning to one side.

dovnitř 9

The role of sport

So where does all this leave sport? Sports are a great way to get healthy and later to unwind. “Maybe by not going crazy from all the pressure and stress around me. I know that if I go for a run or to the gym, it puts a smile on my face,” says Kateřina Nekolná. But endorphins are not the only benefit. “Sport gives people a lot of good qualities in life. The ability to get up when you fall down. To applaud your opponent when you lose. To pass to another,” Jana Havrdova added. “Sport makes you live in the spirit of fair play. That's why it is clear that the more people move, the better society we will be living in,” Petra Tyrpeklová said, in summary.

Author: Jitka Jiřičková
Photo: Jan Kolský

Share article: