Written by: Philippe Riboton
WHEN POINTING OUT successful women in the work place, most people often wonder how those “exceptions” managed to climb their way up in a business environment that is still pretty heavily dominated by men. With some good reason, they usually stress how difficult it must have been for them to surpass their male counterparts in the race for professional success. Very few people realize what it truly meant to them to achieve that status, while at the same time finding fulfillment in their personal life. On the contrary, does anyone ever look at men wondering how they managed to do the same: cultivating their private life, getting the right partner, or raising children? Not really – the most common assumption is that a man who earns professional success is simply a successful individual. Which often hides the fact that most of those icons of achievement simply leave it to their partner to care for everything that takes place outside their busy business schedule. However, women face a much more difficult dilemma, which is to choose not to choose. When climbing the ladder in the corporate world, they still have to find a partner that will understand (or, in the best case, even support) their professional ambition, have children, raise them and take care of the house. Some women will even tell you that they have to do the shopping and cook dinner for the family, while doing everything necessary to stay fit, attractive, and sexy. You could call it “Mission Impossible”. Yet many women face the challenge and make it possible. In our cover story this month, a few female executives open up on the issue of finding balance and still managing it all. We have asked their partners how it feels to be by their side, and sometimes even behind them. In other cases, women express the price they have paid on the personal level to achieve professional success. Read these frank and open portraits that offer a unique angle on Czech society – one with women at the helm.