April 21, 2008
The road to democracy is a long and strenuous one, even dangerous in some
In the States, Americans tend to consider their country’s journey as difficult, and
their victory glorious.
However, many Americans fail to examine the hardships other
countries must undergo to achieve that elusive ideal we call freedom.
Freedom House is
an organization that looks where most Americans do not.
Some countries, like the Czech
Republic, have also reached a level of democracy strong enough for Freedom House to
Others, like Somalia, are in such disarray and authoritarian terror that
they are classified ‘Not Free’.
But a third group exists, that of ‘Partly Free’, like
This is the group in transition, for better or worse.
Although many aspects of
democratization and core democratic values link the three aforementioned countries, the
support of the disadvantaged is examined here, in the form of treatment of women.
Freedom House classifications of the Czech Republic, Somalia, and Ethiopia can be
readily paralleled in the countries’ respective treatment of women, including women’s
rights, liberties, and safety.
Freedom House classifies the Czech Republic as ‘Free’ and gives it both a
political rights score and a civil liberties score of one.
Formerly Czechoslovakia (after
the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the country suffered many injustices and
damages to personal liberty and well being under the grip of communism gone awry.
During the 1960s, Alexander Dubcek led the Prague Spring, which aimed to reform the
However, the Soviet military suppressed this movement in 1968.