Not only a symbolic role: Czechia's next first lady aims to bring women's rights to the fore

Having gone through a divorce and been a single mother, Eva Pavlová sympathizes with the hard situation that some Czech women find themselves in today.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 31.01.2023 14:07:00 (updated on 31.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The next Czech first lady, Eva Pavlová, is on a mission to raise awareness about discrimination against women in society. 

Following the victory of her husband Petr Pavel in the 2023 presidential election, Pavlová says that she wants to devote time to focusing on – and helping – single mothers in Czechia and tackling gender inequality, iDnes writes.

Closer involvement with disadvantaged women

“Divorce is on the rise, single mothers are worse off today than we once were. I would very much like to work in this area, to show these women places where they can be helped and where that help works," said Pavlová.

Pavlová, who met her husband while at a military training base in 1985, believes that not a whole lot has changed for women since she herself went through a divorce when Pavlová already had had a child.

In the 2022 Gender Equality Index, Czechia finished 23rd out of the 27 European countries monitored. With 57.2 points, the Czech Republic is significantly behind the continental average of 68.6. It has fallen one place in the rankings since 2019.

Pavlová hopes to look deeper into ways in which society can support women where they need it most. This can, for example, include follow-up care and counseling for women post-divorce, and encouraging communication for women who are in need. In her own words, she wants to be “more visible” than current first lady Ivana Zemanová.

“A woman in this [first lady] role should be seen in public, not just act as [the president’s] company. She should listen to people and get involved in activities that are closer to women.” - Eva Pavlová

Czechia’s first lady had not expected to be in this position, assuming instead that she and her husband after his military retirement would devote their time to their cottage, family, and grandchildren rather than tour the country in a presidential election campaign. As she tells iDnes, although her husband seems calm, she has “emotions to share.”

Representing Czech women internationally

She has experience accompanying – and thereby representing – her husband on the national and international stages. During Pavel’s time as the Czech army’s Chief of General Staff, Pavlová was in charge of communicating with foreign militaries and military diplomats. As a woman, she hopes to represent not only her husband, but also all Czech women, on the world stage.


  • Just 23 percent of politicians in the current Czech parliament are women - compared with an EU average of 33 percent.
  • Women with the same job position and function as men earn 12 percent less than their male counterparts.
  • Over 320,000 women in Czechia are afraid to go home because of domestic violence.
  • Czech women earn on average 16.4 percent, or CZK 6,800 monthly, less than men.
  • According to a 2019 report, one-third of single mothers have to survive on a monthly income of less than CZK 10,000.

    Sources: Gender Equality Index, European Commission

Pavlová notes that she has previously volunteered at a mediation center that dealt with marriage-related legal disputes, during which she was reminded of unpleasant memories.

A new figurehead of a country that still struggles to bridge the gender equality gap, Pavlová will hope to shed more light on women’s rights in the months and years to come.

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