Unfortunately, even though a higher number of women become more educated almost every year, there are still negative stereotypes about women’s professional skills and intellectual abilities. In recent years, the proportion of women with tertiary education has exceeded the number of men with the same education levels, but sadly, this data does not have a substantial effect on the employment rate of women.
Tünde Hagymásy, the head of department at the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (CSO) and one of the people working on the recently published collection of essays, Women and Men in Hungary, helped Index to show what the differences between women and men are in Hungary today, concerning the development of the educational attainment levels of both sexes and their respective situation in the labour market.
From the data, it is clear that in Hungary, more women attain higher educational levels than men, but this is not yet apparent in their scientific and professional recognition, suggesting that there are still problems with equal opportunities, and this is backed up by numbers, which you might need to be adequately informed before forming an opinion on this topic that often creates heated debates.
Tünde Hagymásy said to Index that in terms of attained education, there is hardly any difference between women and men at lower levels of education, but at higher levels, thanks to the tendencies of the last decades, the differences are in favour of women.
The level of women’s education standard is continually rising.
In 2001, the rate of Hungarian women aged 18 or over with at least a high school graduation certificate was 40.2% and the rate of women aged 25 or over with tertiary education was only 11.6%. By 2016, the rate of high school graduate women rose to 57.9% and the rate of women with tertiary education has more than doubled to 23.9%. Additionally, the standard level of education of women has increased by more than the increase in men’s standard education levels.
In recent years, the number of women with tertiary education has indeed exceeded that of men. In 2005, 14.3% of women aged 25 or over had degrees, and in 2011, this rate changed to 19.7% for women and 18.2% for men. Looking at the 2016 data, the proportion of women with a degree was higher than the proportion of men with a degree in all age groups, except for those aged 60 or over. In 2016, the biggest difference was visible in the 25–39 age group, where the proportion of women with a degree was as high as 37.8%, while it was only 25.9% in the case of men.
In 2019, the proportion of women in full-time higher education was the highest in the field of teacher training and educational science, exactly 76.3%. Education classified by the CSO as healthcare, social care, or humanities is also extremely popular among Hungarian women. Two years ago, the former had a female rate of 65.7% and the latter 64.7%.
The lowest female participation rate was in the field of IT, where only 15.8% of students were women.
According to the 2019 data of the Hungarian National Training Register, educational and pedagogical training outside the school system were the most popular among women (98.1% of participants were women). In health and personal services, hospitality, commerce, and tourism training, more than 80% of participants were also women.
In 2019, nearly half of the students in doctoral training were women. Also, in 2019, 41.4% of lecturers employed full-time in higher education institutions were women. This proportion was only 36% in the 2008/2009 school year. The proportion of women (51.3%) in junior lecturer position exceeds that of men (48.8%); however, as the professional echelon progresses, the proportion of women is lower and lower.
46.7% of senior lecturers, 34.6% of associate professors, and 22.6% of full professors are women.
Although these numbers are relatively low, the gender distribution of lecturers in Hungarian higher education does not differ significantly from the international scene, as the proportion of female professors in Germany, for example, is 19.4% and 22.5% in Italy.
Since 2015, the number of economically active women has increased by 16,700, and the number of economically active men increased by 95,200, so in 2019, the number of economically active women was 2,074,000 while the number of economically active men was 2,521,000.
63.7% of economically inactive people are women. This means that there are 474,600 more economically inactive women than man. This is due to the higher proportion of women receiving childcare benefits, pension, and other benefits and annuities. In 2019, 381,400 more women benefitted from such assets than men.
The employment rates for women aged 40–49 (85%) and women aged 50–54 (82.4%) were the highest in 2019.
The highest rate of economically active people for both sexes are in Budapest (69.5% for women, 82.7% for men) and Western Transdanubia (67.2% for women and 83.0% for men), while the lowest rate of economically active people is in Northern Hungary (61.0% for women and 77.4% for men) and in Southern Transdanubia (61.6% for women and 75.9% for men).