Katalin Novák: We often have the impression that those who did not venture to have children of their own would like to bring up ours
The only message I have for you today is that we cannot effectively support women unless we take into account that most of them (most of us) are mothers or will be mothers at some point," said President of Hungary Katalin Novák at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Monday.
The Head of State stressed that women have been given the privilege to give birth, which is why it must be made possible for girls and women all over the world to make their own decisions, instead of being forced to choose between motherhood and a professional career.
Katalin Novák highlighted that in the West, women now enjoy a similar chance to that of men to have a career and prosper, but "in getting an education, pursuing a career, being promoted at the workplace, the difference in fact comes from whether we have or have not children".
"We cannot effectively support women unless we take into account that most of them are mothers or will be mothers at some point" – said Katalin Novák, stressing that she is a mother of three herself. She added: "We may control an army, govern states, but it is to our own families that we are most important and truly indispensable. There and only there are we irreplaceable".
In her speech delivered in English, Katalin Novák stressed that the traditional family, which forms the foundation of Judeo-Christian culture, is currently under attack, and therefore we must protect the family and family values.
The President of Hungary warned: "forces – unseen so far - are at work to break up families" and to discourage young people from having children. It may be the case that many think family life is outdated, but Katalin Novák stood up for families and emphasized: "times change, but our values do not".
The Head of State pointed out that families consisting of a mother, a father and children are "under fire " and what is more, "many people look down on those whose fulfilment in life is raising their children". According to Katalin Novák: “although many attack the family-centred Hungarian model and "want to prevent us from deciding for ourselves how to raise our children, we often have the impression that those who did not venture to have children of their own are trying to raise ours.(.) but we will protect our children, culture and traditions".
The Head of State underlined: the loss of life to war can never be justified. Quoting Pope Francis, she stressed that there is no such a thing as a just war.
She proclaimed, "I reiterate our firm commitment to peace. We want peace! We Christians, we Hungarians, we mothers, we do not want to fuel this war, we want to end it!"
Katalin Novák pointed out that she represents Hungary, a country that is a neighbour to war-ridden Ukraine. She said she spoke on behalf of the Hungarians both in Hungary and beyond Hungary’s borders, of whom approximately 150 thousand live in Ukraine but are members of the Hungarian national community.
"We have lived in the shadow of the war for a year now, but we still cannot see the end of it. Families suffer most" – the President stressed.
The 67th annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women was addressed by Heads of State and government officials from around the world.
Ahead of the session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Katalin Novák met with youth representatives delegated to the United Nations. They discussed topics of interest to the delegates that affect young people, and the role women play in society. She gave an account of her own work and answered the young delegates’ questions.
In addition to Hungary’s youth representative to the UN, the meeting was also attended by the delegates of the European Union, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. Katalin Novák talked about the reconcilability of family and career and her own experiences. She also spoke about her work in the Hungarian government in this field.
As part of the event, Katalin Novák participated in a bilateral meeting with Marocco’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
On Tuesday, the official visit of Hungary’s President to the United States continued in the capital of Florida, Tallahassee.