Feminist Theory Website

Feminism in Hungary


Individual Feminists:

Katalin Koncz

Andrea Tóth

Judit Acsády

Judit Acsády

Maria Adamik

Nilda Bullain

Christina Crowder

Mária Frey

Katalin Lévai

Marietta Pongrácz

Erzsébet Mária Szabó

Judit Asbotné Thorma

Éva Thun

Andrea Tóth

Olga Tóth

Éva Vámos

Internet Links

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:

      1. to promote the equality of men and women in Hungarian society and to fight against all kinds of discrimination
      2. to increase awareness of women's issues and women's situation in Hungarian society
      3. to promote the participation of women in public life
      4. to lobby for legal, administrative and policy reforms in areas which affect women.

      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"

      by Katalin Koncz

        [Copyright 1998 Katalin Koncz.]

      Women's Studies in the past and nowadays, too, were initiated and supported by women's researchers dealing with women's issues, who are generally active in women's movement. The institualization of Women's Studies is limited. There are about 25-30 people and 8 research institutes in Hungary whose research contains some aspects of women's issues.

      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.

      1. The course entitled "The Social Position of Women and Men" involves the most important aspects of the social position of women and men. It analyses the biological, psyhological and social differences of gender and the origine of these differences.
      2. The course of "The Succesful Women" helps for students to study the practical knowledges to be more effective and successful. It use small group discussions and role playing. It analyses the strong and weak points of women, emphasizes a more dominated attitude for women.

      Since 1993 there was launched four other courses.

      1. The course on "The Social Position of Women from a Historical Point of View" is a historico- sociological analysis of gender roles. It follows the gender's role accross the different historical epoch and regime.
      2. The "Women in the labour market" course examines the level and structure of female employment and unemployment in a cross-cultural and historical context. The labour market characteristics of female labour force is presented as the consequences of gendered social roles.
      3. The course on "Women in Hierarchy" focuses on the situation of women in political and managarial positions. Broad issues of power, politics and empowerment are analyzed from diverse historical, cultural, economic and social aspects.
      4. The newest course launched in 1995 is "Communication skills for women" concentrates on assertive behaviour, and the methods of effective comunication through tests and role plays.

      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:

      1. The Hungarian case study analyses the position of women during the transition to democracy. It is edited in the book (Barbara Nelson and Najma Chuwdhurry (1994).
      2. Research on "The Position of Women in the Transitional Period" was coordinated by Barbara-Lobodsinska-Lien from the United States. The results is published in a book, and presented in a workshop organized in the framework of Fifth World Conference for Central and East European Studies in Warsawa (1995).
      3. Research on "The Mechanisms of Promotion of Women to Top Leadership Position in Public Life" is based on a sociological questionnaire -- doing with 30 top politicians and 30 top managers in business -- co-ordinated by Mino Vianello of the University of Rome.
      4. Participation in the elaboration of the Hungarian Governmental Report for the UN conference helt in Beijing in 1995.

      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

      1. Women`s Studies Központ, Budapesti Közgazdaságtudományi Egyetem / Women`s Studies Centre, Budapest University of Economic Sciences H-1o93 Budapest, Fõvám tér 8. Contact person: Professor dr. Katalin Koncz Tel/fax: office: +36 1 2186-855 ext. 6177. E-mail: wsk_kk@pegasus.bke.hu
      2. Eötvös Lóránd Tudomány Egyetem Szociálpolitikai Tanszék Lóránd Eötvös University of Sciences, Department of Social Policy H-1o88 Budapest, Múzeum krt. 4/c. Contact person: dr. Maria Adamik Tel./Fax:office: 36 1 2661 oo8
      3. The Central European University H-1o51 Budapest, Nádor u. 9. Contact person: Christina Clowder Tel.office: 36 1 3273 192 Fax: 36 1 3273 191 E-mail: gender@ceu.hu

      Governmental and Research Instituts / Contactpersons outside Universities

      1. Egyenlõ Esélyek Titkárság, Munkaügyi Minisztérium / Office for Equal Status, Ministry of Labour H-1o51 Budapest, Roosevelt tér 7-8. Contact person: Prof. dr. Lévai Katalin Tel. office: 36 1 3311 149 Fax: 36 1 3125 26o E-mail: katalin.levai@mum.x4oogw.itb.hu
      2. Központi Statisztikai Hívatal Népességtudományi Kutató Intézet / Central Statistical Office Demographic Research Institut H-1o24 Budapest, Fényes Elek u. 14-18. Contact person: dr. Marietta Pongrácz Tel: office: 36 1 3456 562 Fax: 361 1 3456 68o
      3. Munkaügyi Kutató Intézet / Research Institute of Labour H-1o66 Budapest, Mozsár u. 14 Contact person: dr. Mária Frey Tel: office 361-1327-787 Fax: 361-1127-o44
      4. MTA Politikai Tudományok Intézete / Hungarian Academy of Sciences Institute of Political Scieces H-1o68 Budapest, Benczúr u. 33. Contact person: Tóth Andrea Tel. office: 36 1 3214 83o Fax: 36 1 3221 843
      5. MTA Szociológiai Kutató Intézet / Hungarian Academy of Sciences Research Institute of Sociology Uri u. 49 H-1o14 Budapest Contact person: dr. Olga Tóth Tel: office: 36 1 1759-011, Fax: 36 1 1557-967

      Women's Studies Libraries and Information Services

      1. Women`s Studies Központ Könyvtára , Budapesti Közgazdaságtudományi Egyetem / Library of Women`s Studies Centre, Budapest University of Economic Sciences H-1o93 Budapest, Fövám tér 8. Contact person: Prof. dr. Katalin Koncz Tel/fax: office: +36 1 2186-855 ext. 6177. E-mail: wskkk@ursus.bke.hu
      2. Országos Mûszaki Múzeum / Museum for Science and Technology H-1117 Budapest, Kaposvár u. 13-15 Contact person: Éva Vámos Tel: office: 36 1 1667-011, Fax: 36 1 1667-188
      3. Gender Studies Gyûjtemény, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Társadalmi Konfliktuskutató Intézet / Gender Studies Collection. Social Conflict Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences H-1o68 Budapest, Benczúr u. 33. Contact person: dr. Judit Acsády Tel.: 361- 3214-83o Fax: 361-3515-455

      Women's Movements

      1. Magyar Nõk Szövetsége / Hungarian Women`s Association H-1o62 Budapest, Andrássy út 124. Contact person: dr. Asbotné Thorma Judit Tel./Fax office: 36 1 1319 734 E-mail: hung_wom_assoc@com.kibernet.hu
      2. Nõk Világbéke Szövetség / Women Federation for World Peace H-1131 Budapest Csanádi u. 25/b. III/2. Contact person: Elisabeth Cook Tel/Fax office: 36 1 12oo 616
      3. Feminista Hálózat/Feminist Network H-1399 Budapest, Pf. 7o1/1o92 Contact person: Nilda Bullain Tel/fax office: +36 1 2161 67o

      Other Institutes

      1. Magyar Nõakadémia / Hungarian Women`s Academy H-1o62 Budapest, Andrássy út 124. Contact person: dr. Erzsébet Mária Szabó Tel./Fax office: 36 1 1319 734 E-mail: hung_wom_assoc@com.kibernet.hu

      Women's Studies Newsletters and Journals

      1. Nõszemély/Feminist Journal H-1399 Budapest, Pf. 7o1/1o92 Contact person: Nilda Bullain Budapest 1139 Tel/fax office: +36 1 2161 67o

      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.

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