Why this story matters:
Orban has made it clear what role he thinks women should have in Hungarian society: give birth to as many babies as possible. “Having a baby is the most private public affair," he said.
He shared his sentiments during his most recent weekly address, asking for "an agreement" with Hungarian women.
He is right about one thing: it's time to talk about women’s issues.
But an agreement is usually made between-- at least -- two parties. So far Orbán has not bothered to engage in talks with Hungarian women who don't like the role he wants for them. They do not want to be treated as baby producing machines.
What they want is an inclusive government that respects them; that is committed to securing equal pay; that provides them with more possibilities to be able to work part-time or even from home; that secures their easy reintegration into the labour market after giving birth; and one that builds more nursery schools and kindergartens. The list is long.
Orbán is not the only European politician with outdated views on the role of women. The Serbian government is boosting birth rates through stale slogans, and the Moldovan leadership could not care less that women face dramatic discrimination on the work market.
What these leaders fail to realize is that while they are stuck in the past, women are not.
They know what they want and cannot be fooled with false agreements. If this was a real proposal, then the Hungarian prime minister would have engaged in talks with women’s organizations.
Details from the story:
- In his weekly address, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it was the responsibility of women to change the demographic in Hungary.
- The president of the Association of Hungarian Women, Andrea Alfoldi, voiced her concern after the weekly address: "We hope they won't force a 19th century family model on society," she said.
- Other women's rights activists are concerned that the government might curb the reproductive rights of women.
- On Women’s Day, Orban went to the parliament’s canteen and brought flowers to women working in the kitchen, a gesture seen as insinuating his views about where women should be.