Slovakei: Jana Cvikova

My mother used to tell me: 'A nice, tender and sensitive girl is pleasant and everybody is fond of her!' My response today: 'I will see you further first.'

— Jana Cvikova

Founded by Jana Civikova in 1993, the feminist organization Aspekt was the first to introduce feminist issues in Slovakia. Starting as a cultural journal, its spectrum widened into publishing, a feminist library, lectures, and workshops. Jana now concentrates on a feminist anthology and on Equal, an educational cooperation program on gender roles, stereotypes, and gender sensitive pedagogy. Workshops for teachers are being prepared and Aspekt is starting a three-year pilot project in a primary school.

Having left her original profession, she feels like an expert in everything and nothing. Jana Civikova (42) has not made use of her doctorate in literature for the last 12 years. The founder of the feminist organization Aspekt sits on a wooden conference table thinking how the mission of introducing feminism in Slovakia changed her life, wondering how a forerunner like Aspekt could be counted as a fringe group. During her student days, Jana Civikova was introduced to the famous book "Der kleine Unterschied und seine grossen Folgen" (The Little Difference and the Consequences) by Alice Schwarzer, and it took her quite a while to realize that everything that she had felt and all that had made her angry in the world was feminist. And ironically, that was after she got married. Living with her husband and her daughter (15), two dogs, tortoises, a chameleon, and Australian lizards in a 64-square meter apartment on the outskirts of the Slovakian capital Bratislava convinced Jana that irony helps her family survive in an environment so contrary to their moral ideals. Aspekt basically consists of only two women, Jana and her business partner. Jana Civikova stresses the importance of their partnership: "If one of us died, the other one would not be able to keep Aspekt alive." Sadly, there is no successor. And yet it is understandable, she says. What younger woman would like to take the responsibility, to fight and struggle like Jana and her partner have done for so many years? She does not complain. She is just worried about the fact that they are misunderstood. "We are treated like lunatics but we are not – it is all about surviving." When Jana and her partner are working like crazy these days it shows how extremely suitable the combination of a former Communist Pioneer and a Catholic is: "It makes a perfect workaholic team."