Reducing the Gender Employment Gap in Hungary

image of Reducing the Gender Employment Gap in Hungary

In Hungary, women are much less likely than men to be in paid work. Despite recent policy reforms and employment increases for both men and women since the global financial crisis, the gender employment gap has widened over the past years. It is now at its highest point since the mid-1990s. A major reason for the persistent employment gap in Hungary is that most mothers with very young children take an extended period out of paid work following childbirth - often until the child is two or three years of age. Traditional family attitudes towards gender roles and caring for very young children play a role. In addition, access to and use of childcare services for very young children remains limited despite some improvements, and flexible working arrangements are not widespread. For Hungary, closing the gender employment gap responds to both gender equality and labour market issues. This report analyses recent reforms and explores potential policy actions in the areas of early childhood education and care, parental leave and flexible working arrangements, which could provide women - and especially mothers of very young children - with better access to paid work.



Gender gaps in employment are persistent in Hungary and the OECD: in 2020 women’s employment rates were about 15 percentage points lower than men’s employment rates in Hungary and across the OECD on average. In 2021, the recorded women’s employment rate increased by 6 percentage points to 68% reducing the gender employment gap to just below 10%. In large part, this reduction was simply due to a definitional change in the European Labour Force Statistics applied from 1 January 2021 onwards – counting those who worked before the parental leave, receive job-related income and are guaranteed to return to their previous job as employed, in addition to active workers receiving childcare benefits.


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