Monday evening, 13 November 2023, saw a panel discussion entitled Urban Talk: Female Empowerment take place at Charles University. The central theme of the debate, as the title suggests, was empowerment and gender equality. Four successful women representing very different professional sectors presented their insights, experience and outlook for the future.
From left: Milena Králíčková, Rector of the Charles University; H.E. Gabriella Sancisi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Slovakia; Monika Ladmanová, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic and Andrea Ferjenčíková, Director of the Czech branch of the EIB
Professor Milena Králíčková, the rector of Charles University, reflected on the need to empower women in the "male" academic world in a friendly discussion attended by about three dozen participants - mainly students. Women from the top management of the banking sector were represented in the debate by Andrea Ferjenčíková, Director of the Czech branch of the European Investment Bank. H.E. Gabriella Sancisi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Slovakia, presented the world of diplomacy from the position of a woman. Monika Ladmanová, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic, outlined the specific situation of women in European politics.
Together they discussed not only the challenges they had faced in their own careers. They also pointed out the opportunities and ways that can help women build much needed self-confidence. Last but not least, together they looked for ways in which society could create a more encouraging environment in which they - that is, women, regardless of education and profession - could feel more accepted.
Women in male-dominated fields
"Public discussions with and support for women in all positions and functions of public life are essential. It is important to want to discuss issues," agreed female actors, among others. Although much has improved, there is still room for improvement in the implementation of real, not just theoretical, gender equality and related social areas.
Rector Králíčková also wants to talk more about women at the university and to pay attention to their work. “As an example, she wanted to see if the environment would make it much more possible for women to establish themselves in 'masculine' fields, such as surgery,” the rector explained. And as an example of an outstanding success she cited the female physician-scientist Barbara East.
The Dutch diplomat wants to see the next, new generation, who are not bound by any prejudices, given the opportunity to take control of their careers and their own lives, regardless of their gender. According to Gabriella Sancisi, the process of pursuing a professional career is primarily driven by a desire for knowledge. This is the case even if a successful woman's career is interrupted for a time by the birth of a child.
“Feminism is about equal rights, about supporting other women and, of course, about equality at all levels of life. Let's get rid of negative connotations,” the diplomat urged.
“We are all different, we all know our own professional world and it is great to have the chance to share our experiences with others,” said Andrea Ferjenčíková with pleasure. She herself admitted that although she has not lived in her native Slovakia for some time, she still feels that thanks to a woman president, the situation with the status of women in Slovakia is much better than in the Czech Republic.
The debate in Carolinum Urban Talk: Female Empowerment - organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Charles University, the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic and the European Investment Bank - and moderated by Tereza Willoughby from Czech Television, was part of the Prague European Summit 2023. This year's programme, which continues on 15-16 November, offers a number of other engaging panels and discussions.
Text: Marcela Uhlíková
Photos: Vladimír Šigut
Datum: 13. 11. 2023