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Government officials emphasised the importance of further central support for women while opposition politicians called for ensuring them equal opportunities in society, public life, politics and employment on Friday, on International Women’s Day. Improving the situation of women in Hungary is a government objective which is inseparable from its policy of supporting families raising children, the state secretary for family and youth affairs told a conference hosted by the club of young families in Budapest. Katalin Novák noted government measures that include a three-year maternity leave, retirement option for women after 40 years of work and expanding creches capacity. She also announced the launching of the Women for the Hungarian Nation Movement to promote the cause of family as a major force in holding the nation together. Government spokesman István Hollik told the conference that the government’s responsibility is to support women and ensure them the free choice to decide whether to work or raise children or both.

Zsolt Molnár, leader of the opposition Socialists’ Budapest chapter, said the party supports setting a higher quota for women in politics. To this effect, the Socialists will field an increased number of women candidates on their lists in the municipal elections this autumn, he told a press conference. If elected to govern Budapest, the Socialists will enact measures to help support victims of domestic violence, he said. On this score, Kata Tüttő, an MEP candidate of the party, called for increasing care home capacity for the victims and launching social dialogue about the issue.

A lawmaker of opposition LMP said the party will demand equal opportunities in the workplace and equal wages for women. Gábor Vágó, LMP’s top candidate for the EP elections, urged building more creches and higher wages for nurses there. Márta Demeter, LMP’s co-leader, said that her party, once in power, would use EU funds for increasing the wages of women and called for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.