Hungary below neighbours in gender equity, says watchdog organization

In terms of gender equity Hungary matches the European average, but is slightly below some of its neighbours.

This is made apparent by the publication of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2012, published by Social Watch on the eve of Women’s International Day, March 8.

The GEI prepared annually by Social Watch measures the gap between women and men in education the economy and political empowerment. The index is an average of the inequalities in the three dimensions. In literacy, it examines the gender gap in enrolment at all levels; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment; empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.

The best and worst 15 countries in the GEI 2012

Social Watch measures the gap between women and men, not their wellbeing. Thus, a country in which young men and women have equal access to the university receives a value of 100 on this particular indicator. In the same fashion, a country in which boys and girls are equally barred from completing primary education would also be awarded a value of 100. This does not mean that the quality of education in both cases is the same. It just establishes that, in both cases girls are not less educated than boys.

Hungary’s 73 points rank her among those countries with LOW GEI. The country’s index equals Europe’s average and those of neighbouring Austria and Slovakia. It places her  above Romania (72) and Ukraine (69), and below Croatia (74), Slovenia and Serbia (both with 75). It should be noted however that Hungary is far behind those countries leading the score in Europe in the world, as Norway, Finland and Iceland Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Spain and Mongolia, all of them above 80 points, which place them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI. 

Out of the other European countries, Hungary is above Armenia, Italy (both with 70), Malta (63), Belarus (64), Cyprus, Georgia (both with 67) and Luxembourg (68).

Mr. Matyas Benyik, President of ATTAC Hungary (as the focal point of Hungarian Social Watch Coalition) has said that the GEI value for Hungary shows that the country is lagging far behind the core countries and the issues directly related to women are not represented appropriately. “Hungary needs to tackle unemployment, sexual and repropductive rights, health, demographic problems, reconciliation of work and private life, issues related to public education, nursery, kindergarten, child care, family support system, domestic violence against women”, added Benyk.

Mr. Péter Farkas, Researcher of the World Economic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, comments that “Hungarian women face disproportionate difficulties, often unbridled discrimination in the labour market. Career opportunities for women offer wages about 15 % lower than for men, but in highly qualified jobs the gap can reach 45% -. Women are underrepresented in public life in general and they constitute only 8.5 percent of all MPs in Hungary”.


The five levels according to which the index measures the gender gap are: CRITICAL, VERY LOW, LOW, MEDIUM AND ACCEPTABLE, It should be noted that no country has reached 90 points or more, meaning that no country has yet reached the ACCEPTABLE level.

The only dimension in which Hungary reaches an ACCEPTABLE value is education (98 points), while in economic participation and empowerment the country’s performance is much less praiseworthy: 82 and 40 respectively (MEDIUM and VERY LOW).


Norway, Finland and Iceland are at the top of Europe and also the world, with 89, 88 and 87 points respectively. The three European countries that present largest gender gaps are Malta (63), Albania (55) and Turkey (45).

Out of the 154 countries computed by the IEG 2012 those five in the worst global situation are the Republic of Congo (29), Niger (26), Tchad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15).

Social Watch members are spread across all regions. The network fights for the eradication of poverty and its causes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

For a detailed description of methodology sources see