Gender Equality in Hungary

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Flag of Hungary
Population (in Mil.) 9.92
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 126.82
Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.91
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1.112676056
Fertility Rate 1.4
Estimated Earned Income (f/m) 0.66
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) 61.7
Women in Parliament (in %) 8.8
Human Development Index 37/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index /86
Gender Inequality Index 37/186
Gender Equity Index 42/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 21/128
Global Gender Gap Index /68
More information on variables


Hungary has relatively low employment rates for women, well-below EU and OECD averages, and even low compared to other central and eastern European countries. Insufficient child care places in rural Hungary and traditional beliefs, shared by both sexes, that women belong in the home rather than the workplace, help explain the low participation rate in the labour market. However, women are beginning to outnumber their male peers in terms of educational attainment at almost every level; even at doctorate level, women are almost on equal footing.

Social Institutions

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.

The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.

In the 2014 edition of the SIGI, Hungary was not classified in the SIGI due to lack of full dataset. It has lower discrimination in restricted access to resources and assets and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here:


On 22 December 2003 the Parliament adopted Act CXXV on equal treatment and the promotion of equality of opportunities. The Act is a general anti-discriminatory act prohibiting discrimination against women based on ‘gender, marital status and maternity (pregnancy)’. The principles of gender equality are also enshrined in the Constitution and in the 2002 Labour Code:  ‘Everyone without any discrimination has the right to equal pay for work of equal value.’

The Equal Treatment Authority, established in 2005, monitors the implementation process of the requirements in relation to equal treatment. The authority is directed by the government and supervised by the minister responsible for equal opportunity issues – currently within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (Szociális és Munkaügyi Minisztérium). The authority investigates individual cases of any infringements of the law, and gives its opinion on draft regulations on equal treatment and advises the government on the issue.

Family Code

In a poll undertaken in 2000, 76% of men and 70% of women agreed that 'the husband should earn a living and the wife should do the household chores." 68% of men and 67% agreed that 'the full time employment strains the life of the family.' (UNRISD). The continuity of these traditional perceptions explain why women face difficulties in entering the labour market and in re-entering after leave periods. Moreover, the responsibility for raising children is also seen in Hungary as a woman's job. Hungary stands out in international comparison as a country that offers relatively generous options for taking time off to raise children on a full-time basis. As a result, the gap between the employment rates for women with children and those without is relatively wide. Hungary also has the lowest female participation rate in comparison with other central and eastern European countries. Women’s inactivity rates reach over 80% for households with at least one child aged below three years. At the same time, the proportion of children under the age of three attending childcare institutions is comparatively low.


The female employment rate in Hungary remained significantly below the EU and OECD average and the employment level of Roma women, in particular, has not increased since 1993, staying at 15%. Women remain in low-management (and consequently less well-paid) positions, and are less likely to enter management: in 2004, the proportion of women in managing positions  stood at 35% compared with 65% of men (Eurostat Labour Force Survey). With regard to high-level management of top companies in Hungary, the proportion of women was around 13% in 2004 and they earned up to 40% less in the same position than men did. 50 leading companies in Hungary employ three times more men than women.


In general, the level of schooling attainment is somewhat higher among women than in men in Hungary. Girls are over-represented in secondary education, favouring grammar to vocational schools. In contrast surveys have shown that some 35-40 % of Roma women have not completed primary school. The proportion of women in higher education as well as among those holding degrees from tertiary education exceeds that of men. Some 58 % of students in higher education are women. 55% of students at university level are women.  Men make up a higher proportion only at the highest (PhD) level of education; in 2005/6,  47 % of the PhD students are women. Some 70 % of students in tertiary teacher training in Hungary are women, while they make up less than 10 % of engineer students. Women make up some 60 % of those studying law and economics, 67 % and 54 % of those studying management and medical sciences, respectively.

Political Empowerment

Women gained partial suffrage in 1919 and full suffrage in 1945. Today, in three out of the four parties in Parliament the proportion of women among the members of the supreme organs of the parties varies between 0 % and 10 %. The Hungarian Socialist Party is the only exception. After the elections in 2002 a total of only 35 women MPs (9.1 % of all MPs) started working in the Hungarian Parliament.


The Women, Business and the Law

Where are laws equal for men and women?  

The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.

For detailed information on Hungary, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Hungary


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