Feminism in Hungary
Erzsébet Mária Szabó
Judit Asbotné Thorma
The Gender Studies program at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary can be reached here.
Women's Organizations in Hungary here.
"The Feminist Network"
by Andrea Tóth
[Copyright 1999 Andrea Tóth.]
The Feminist Network (Feminsta Hálózat) recently celebrated its 5th anniversary. Although the Feminist Network is quite young, the history of the Hungarian feminist movement goes back to the beginning of the century. In 1904 Hungarian women founded the Feminist Association, one of whose leading members was Rózsa Bédy-Schwimmer, who was a well-known figure in feminist and peace politics all over the world. (She received the World Peace Award in 1937.) After World War II the women's movement was coopted by the Communist Party and so was not able to function independently for many years.
The present Feminist Network was founded by 50 women in June 1990 and has been working as an officially registered association since then. Its members come from a wide range of social backgrounds and occupations. Its aims are:
To achieve these aims, we translate and publish feminist literature, organize consciousness-raising public talks and seminars, support and contribute to the research and teaching of Women's and Gender Studies, and are planning a Women's Information Center.
We publish a magazine called Nöszemély, which publishes articles written from women's points of view on reproductive rights, violence against women, women's movements around the world, and other women's issues.
The Feminist Network works closely with other groups such as NaNE (Women for Women Against Violence) and NGOs working for social change in Hungary and elsewhere. We have organized and taken part in many demonstrations over the years, and particularly spent 1 1/2 years fighting a hard campaign against the restriction of abortion rights in 1991-2. (Eventually the government passed relatively liberal legislation.)
We are keen to correspond with other women's groups from around the world, and to see anyone coming through Hungary, so get in touch! Our address is: Feminist Network, 1399 Budapest, Pf. 701/1092, HUNGARY.
"Women's Studies in Hungary"
[Copyright 1998 Katalin Koncz.]
The integration of women's studies at university level is still not quite sufficient in Hungary. There are some courses (about 2o-3o) at the universities overall in country, integrated in different department (Sociology, English, Literature, etc.) The Central European University has a Program on Gender and Culture.
The Women's Studies Center at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences has been officially set up in October 1992. It is the first and sole WSC in Hungary which is officially recognized - by the universities` leadership. The WSC is an independent department, which integrate the work of several department of universities and academic instituts.
The strategy and mission of the WSC is to introduce the gender aspects and the gender interests into education and research, to integrate the gender issues into the social sciences, and to realize a general change of the mindstyle and mentality of society relating gender issues through education and mass media.
a) The most important aim of the WSC at BUES is to introduce gender aspect into curricula and to develop a feminist approach to teaching. At the beginning the WSC has launched two Women's Studies courses. The courses are facultative seminars, discussions in small groups at graduate and postgraduate level. Every students can choose the women's studies courses.
Since 1993 there was launched four other courses.
Student do not receive a degree in Women's Studies.
Special Training Programs and Train-the-trainers Programs help for adult women to be more succesfull in workplaces. The WSC organises market-oriented training courses at the post-graduate level: for women managers, for enterpreneurs and women involved in small businesses, for unemployed women, for women who want to reintegrate into the labor market after the interruption of their work due to childrearing, and for gypsy women.
The language courses with co-operation of the American Peace Corps Volunteers for the staff of the University was very succesfull.
b) The second goal of the WSC is the integration of Women's Studies into the conventional research programmes and the organisation of research projects on women's issues.
Researchers at the Women's Studies Centre at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences are engaged in a variety of cross-cultural analyses and comparisons. During the past two years three international studies have been under way:
c) Third, a student research group works in the Women's Studies Center. The common researches are a process of getting students to think in a critical ways about gender. 20 students have written studies in a high scientific level in different women's issues. Two of them participated on international conferences with their studies. The student's studies is published in the first WSC periodical.
d) Fourth, an informal research network was created in 1990 among the researchers inside and outside university as an expert's group on women's issues. The WSC build links with the other research instituts.
An important barrier against the efficient functioning of the WSC is the lack of financial resources -- as it is general in the East and Central European Countries. The Budapest University has financial difficulties, as well, in providing for basic education. In 1993 was established the "Science for Women Foundation". The British Council and the the Central European University through the Project on Gender and Culture have contributed to the establishment of the Women's Studies Library. The WSC has the biggest WS collection. The Hungarian Telecommunication Company financed the work of students' research. The National Scientific Research Fund have financed the international research on the position of women in policy.
Other Women's Centers and Organizations in Hungary:
Women's Studies Centres / Contactpersons in Universities
Governmental and Research Instituts / Contactpersons outside Universities
Women's Studies Libraries and Information Services
Women's Studies Newsletters and Journals
Another important women's organization is the Network Women's Program -- Soros Foundation Hungary, which works to improve communication between women throughout the world. You can contact them through Agnes Bodnar here, or write to them at this postal address: Soros Foundation - Hungary, Bolyai u. 14, Budapest, HUNGARY H-1023.
Two other important women's NGOs in Hungary are: 1) MONA, 1357 Budaphest, Pf. 453/277, HUNGARY, and 2) NANA, 1426 Budapest, Pf. 660, HUNGARY, which you can reach through email here.
Corrin, Chris. Magyar Women: Hungarian Women's Lives, 1960s-1990s. St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Einhorn, Barbara. Cindarella Goes to Market. Cintizenship, Gender and Women's Movements in East Central Europe. Verso, 1993.
Funk, Nanette and Mueller, Magda, ed. Gender Politics and Post-Communism: Reflections from Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Routledge, 1993.
Moghadam, Valentine, M., ed. Democratic Reform and the Position of Women in Transitional Economies. Clarendon, 1993.
COPYRIGHT 1999 KRISTIN SWITALA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.