Gender Related Social Groups

Men have historically been more active in the public sphere, and consequently dominated much of business, political life, and academia; however, this situation is changing as women increasingly enter economic and political life, and there are few single-sex institutions per se.

Marriage is ideally neolocal, with husband and wife setting up a new household separate from their parents. Many married couples live with one set of parents for a year or more while looking for housing. The location of the new household and connections with the husband's and wife's families depend mainly on personal idiosyncrasies and economic opportunities (e.g., if an aged parent moves in with a married child and his or her household, it will typically be to the household of the child to whom that parent is closest, or the child who can best afford it).

Historically, the basic unit of association was the nuclear or extended family, which existed within a village. There were no large kin-based or gender-based associations beyond these. Under Communism, concerns about privacy and safety from informants, as well as a general material scarcity and lack of funds for outside recreation, led most Czechs to associate mainly within the family or a close circle of relatives and friends. Today, the divorce rate is high, and young Czechs are marrying at a later age and are more geographically mobile than their parents' generation. Young Czechs still often socialize at least occasionally with their families, and a weekend at the family cottage (chata or chalupa) in the country is quite common, but many Czechs now comment on the erosion of the family associations which held under Communism.

As in most of Western Europe, kinship is recognized bilaterally, but surnames are typically patrilineal. Women bear a feminine form (ending in -ova or -a) of their father's surname until marriage. Czech law requires that women take the feminine form of their husband's name upon marriage; an exception was made in 2000 for Czech women who marry non-Czech men, and who now have the option of using their husband's surname without modification. The surnames of women foreign writers and celebrities are typically feminized (e.g., Danielle Steeleova, Hillary Clintonova), although this practice is slowly decreasing. Historically, Czechs typically had two or three given names, often taking the name of the samesex godparent as a middle name. Most Czechs now have a single given name, except for some individuals from German or historically prominent families. Czechs do not have a Russian-style patronymic.

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