Women need real freedom of choice, so that they can choose both career and family at the same time
Women need real freedom of choice, so that they can choose both career and family at the same time. Women are needed in the Labour Market and in the family as well, and this is what Hungary is striving to achieve – said President of Hungary Katalin Novák in the opening panel discussion of Women Deliver 2023 in the Rwandan capital on Monday, a conference dedicated to the improvement of the status of women around the world.
The Hungarian Head of State attended the international conference as the closing event of her state visit to Rwanda..
In addition to Katalin Novák, the panel discussion featured Senegalese President Macky Sall and Ethiopian President Zevde Sahle-Vork, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Natalia Kanem and Shabana Basij-Rasikh, co-founder and president of the School of Leadership of Women in Afghanistan.
In line with the motto of the conference, the dialogue in the panel focused on successful solutions to women issues in different countries and regions and the problem-solving power of women's solidarity.
In the course of the panel discussion, Katalin Novák underlined: full equality for women is not yet achieved when a country elects a woman as president, but it is a very good start.
As she explained, in Hungary, more women than men earn a university degree every year, and there are more female than male graduates in the Labour Market.
Responding to a question, she emphasized: the biggest challenge facing women is when they have to decide between motherhood or career. She added: In Hungary, thanks to the state subsidies available, women have the freedom to choose both, because women are needed in both the Labour Market and the family.
The President of Hungary underlined: her most important goal is to make sure that every Hungarian woman – through a balance between family and career – can have as many children as they want. Among the achievements, she mentioned that over the past 10 years in Hungary, the fertility rate increased by 25 percent and the marriage rate doubled.
She also pointed out that Hungarian women who have four or more children will no longer have to pay income tax for the rest of their lives. She also mentioned that in Hungary, in addition to the father, grandparents can also claim the three-year state child-raising allowance.
In response to a question, Katalin Novák underlined that Hungary needs more women MPs, because less than 15% of current MPs are women. She also said that, while it is not her responsibility to decide on this, she regretted that there would be no female minister in the Hungarian government from 1 August.
President of Ethiopia Zevde Szahle-Vork directed attention to the fact that violent armed conflicts have an especially negative affect on women, citing crime involving rape as an example and the internal displacement of people. She emphasized: in no country should it be allowed to intimidate women, and expressed her hope that positive changes would eventually take place, ensuring equal rights to women.