'Endless gender stereotypes': Expat women weigh in on living in Czechia

On International Women's Day our readers reveal their feelings about being international women in Czechia. Do you agree?

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 08.03.2024 11:17:00 (updated on 20.03.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

If you believe what the rankings say, the Czech Republic is a great place to raise a family, travel alone, and achieve financial independence if you're a woman.

But anyone who lives in Czechia for real knows that it takes more than greenery and cheap culture to raise a kid or that the gender pay gap exists – not to mention that a woman's feelings of personal safety aren't reflected in crime rates alone.

We polled our readers on the greatest challenges of life in Czechia and found that, out of the hundred responses received, dating, healthcare, schooling, and lackluster services were just a few of the pain points among expat women.

Despite some negative factors a high percentage of readers polled said the country's long maternity leave, opportunities for professional growth, and balance between work and personal life make it an attractive option for female residents. The poll also revealed that a vast majority of respondents, 87 percent, feel safe in Prague – 57 percent have never felt unsafe walking in the city at night, and 60 percent have never experienced any harassment while using public transportation.

Illustrative image: iStock / CentralITAlliance
Illustrative image: iStock / CentralITAlliance

Keep reading to hear the pros and cons of living in Czechia as a woman and then weigh in yourself. The following resonponses were edited for clarity and length.

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

"I have very good job, good salary, good benefits"

According to the women surveyed, the job market in Czechia is favorable for women to succeed. Sixty percent of respondents agreed with this sentiment. Additionally, 70 percent of the women said that there are good professional opportunities for women in Czechia. In terms of wages, 36 percent of the respondents believe that they are paid fairly compared to their male colleagues, while one-third of the respondents were unsure.

Gender pay gap, however, is still a real issue in the Czech lands with women earning almost 18 percent less than men. Read more about how to advocate for equal pay in the Czech workplace.

"Places for international people are crowded with digital nomads not interested in serious relationships"

Dating, however, was a mixed bag for our respondents. The majority of respondents ranked the dating scene as 3 for average; most of you met men via apps and bars. However, a number of women offered good tips for places to find a partner. One reader responded that "parks, festivals, cultural events, expat groups" are good places to find dates while another said she looked for love in cafés and at "demonstrations and concerts."

Another respondent, however, said that expat groups were in fact the worst place to meet potential partners and that meeting Czechs was equally difficult. "Most places for international people are crowded with digital nomads not interested in serious relationships and Czechs are very closed off to meeting new people and lack intercultural skills." Read more true tales from Czech the dating scene here.

"Czech men are a weird mix of macho, mama-sheltered, shy, passive, and arrogant"

While one reader pointed out, "There are good and bad men everywhere, being Czech doesn’t determine this status," the majority of our poll's respondents found it difficult to date Czech men. One reader from a remote part of the Broumovsko region said: "Czech women are modern, open minded, beautiful, kind. Czech men in my area are not nice to date: afraid of anything new, conservative, insecure."

Another commenter call Czech men macho, mama's boys, shy, passive, and arrogant. Others commented that fidelity in relationships is not highly valued in Czech culture and that Czech men "don't know how to take women on a date." However, a couple of readers said they'd found their prince charming in Czechia.

When I met my Czech husband and it was love at first sight. He is very caring, he helps with our daughter bedtime...he change diapers, he surprises me with flowers, he is a great provider

"I never dated many Czech men...I just met my Czech husband and it was love at first sight. He is very caring, he helps with our daughter bedtime...he change diapers, he surprises me with flowers, he is a great provider...cooks the best pasta and salmon, he cleans the shower because he knows that it’s my least favorite job, he is respected at work and by his colleagues...overall he is a very good man and devoted to our family."

"Easter... and objectifying dress codes for women in companies"

Numerous respondents pointed to the annual Easter tradition of men whipping women as one of the biggest culture shocks to adjust to as women in living Czechia (one woman even advised that if you're raising a girl in Czechia you need to travel abroad for Easter!). But for some, culture shocks went far deeper than the local affinity for wearing socks and sandals or pagan folklore.

One Asian reader revealed the greatest culture shock is "that it matters where you are from," saying that no one speaks up about the existence of "covert racism and micro aggression based on ignorance." She added that, "Being Asian automatically makes you an subject of interest to strangers (yes, local Czech guys) on the street who are eager to have a conversation with you to find out 'where you're from' even though it's none of their business in the first place."

Some women responded that the persistance of traditional values was a great culture shock. "The box for women is so small. Ideas that women don't like engineering, building, training at the gym. It's hard to break out of that box."

"Maternity leave is out of this world but in terms of care of doctors and nurses it's chaos"

The issues of healthcare in the Czech Republic could be classified as good, bad, and ugly. Being charged for English-speaking service at medical offices, not to mention the shady "annual fee" gynecologists get away with charging vexed many of our readers. "We always pay extra fees at all the different doctors, even for basic care. I would love a more social system like in France," one respondent wrote.

Some saw the country's lengthy maternity leave options as appealing while others felt that a lot of responsibility is placed on the mother and that Czechs tend to judge non-Czech mothers for not doing things the Czech way. One reader longed for "state kindergardens for children any age, so that women are not forced to stay at home."

"There is still an attitude that women come second to men"

What would our female readers change about life in Czechia? Their responses ranged from the superficial (more "high quality beauty salons") to serious. "Men need to be aware that rape and women rights is a real thing. Too much gaslighting over here," wrote one reader.

In the end readers said they were willing to accept some of the good with the bad and that the Czech Republic is a decent place to live and raise daughters: "It's safe despite the endless gender stereotypes and having a family here is cheaper than in other places." Some were hopeful. "Things are getting better but there is still work to do to improve attitude towards gender equality."

A wise observation given the fact that a study released on International National Women's Day in 2024 found that nearly half of Czech still think women should do the cooking and cleaning.

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