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Nov 25, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Here’s the truth about Hungary’s family policy and “image of women”

The international press corps has been taking shots at Hungary’s program aimed at countering demographic decline. A few weeks ago, they said it was discriminating against women without kids, now a German paper proposes that Hungary should adopt a “new image of women”. It’s time for the truth.

Left-liberal political activists have been on a roll lately.

An article published yesterday in Frankfurter Rundschau by Dóra Diseri starts with the tenet that “the right-wing conservative government of Hungary wants to split society with its image of women”. If you’re expecting some kind of facts to back up that bold assertion, you’ll be waiting a long time. Not a lot of substance to be found there.

While the pay gap between men and women remains a pressing problem – as in most countries around the world – Hungary, in fact, performs well above the EU-28 average when it comes to differences in wages. According to Hungary’s Central Statistical Office (KSH), the Frankfurter Rundschau writes, women earn 17 percent less than men. But beware, this number alone is misleading. Mind you, they don’t even give us the year that data was recorded. Let’s put this in perspective.

In 2017, according to an official equal pay document by the European Commission, the EU average gender pay gap stood at 16 percent while Hungary outperformed the bloc by nearly 2 percent. Countries with the worst results (scoring around and above 20 percent) include the likes of Finland, UK, Germany and Estonia. Interesting. Any concerns from Frankfurter Rundschau and other MSM about the “image of women” in those countries?

Here’s a second story, one you may have already heard.

A Swedish online media outlet recently said that the new Family Protection Action Plan creates a situation in which childless people are discriminated against. They couldn’t be more wrong.

The Hungarian government’s Family Protection Action Plan simply creates opportunities in a country where young couples have expressed a desire to have more children. We don’t intervene in a woman’s private life. We have built a support system for those who wish to have children that they may be eligible for specific benefits.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that childless women are discriminated against. That’s complete nonsense. Hungarians can freely decide how – and with how many children – they want to live their lives.

The Family Protection Action Plan is about supporting, not excluding. We have one of the most generous family-support systems in Europe, spending almost twice as much on family support as the OECD average.

We are providing preferential loans to every woman under the age of 40 when they first get married. We offer a subsidy for the purchase of a car for large families and a loan program to support the purchase of a home. We are building new daycare centers across the country and offering to grandparents the opportunity to stay home with their grandchildren by making them eligible to receive subsidized parental leave.

Fortunately, it seems that our hard work has paid off. Our housing program has already helped more than 420,000 Hungarians to acquire a larger and more comfortable home. Since 2010, 200 thousand more Hungarians live in marriages today. Without these pro-family policies, 88,000 fewer children would have been born (in a country of 10 million).

Considering this impact, Balázs Orbán, parliamentary and strategic state secretary in the Prime Minister's Office announced that the government is already working on a second Family Protection Action Plan to provide more support to youth and families.

Because in Hungary family comes first. And we won’t apologize for making that a priority.

Photo: shutterstock