Gender studies ban sparks debate in Hungary

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Legislation introduced by the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI) to no longer subsidize gender studies in Hungary has sparked a major debate in the country and leading conservative intellectuals say the entire issue is politically motivated.

EMMI introduced the bill on August 9th and if it passes, it will affect the Eötvös Loránt Science University (ELTE) and the Soros-built Central European University (CEU). The number of affected students is also very small – this year ELTE admitted 11 and the CEU two students for a graduate gender studies program while ELTE also has an ongoing masters program. According to the bill, currently enrolled students will be allowed to complete their studies.

In a political talk show on conservative Echo TV Ottó Gajdics, editor in chief of print and online daily Magyar Idők said that a program highlighting issues that divide men and women is a bad idea coming from the West and these shouldn’t be financed from taxpayers’ money.

“If someone wants to learn gender studies, they should finance it themselves. Society doesn’t benefit from this and people should have the right to decide how their tax money is spent,” Gajdics said.

When a minority comes up with a crazy idea, liberals will immediately cry wolf and cite basic human rights and now they are saying that this is the human right of a handful of people and the state should finance it.

Gábor G. Fodor, strategic director of think-tank Századvég said those defending gender studies are politically motivated and seek support for their point of view, while the government also defends its point of view.

“It is quite clear that there aren’t large masses supporting gender studies,” Fodor said.

Defending gender studies, Tibor Závecz, CEO of Závecz Research said that this is a specialized discipline within sociology but the scope of gender studies is larger than just gender identity. Tamás Boros, strategic director of think-tank Policy Solutions said gender studies is not about identity crises but equality. 

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