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April 8, 2015

Women's Issues Top Workshop Agenda (HU)

Women's Issues Top Workshop Agenda (HU)

Gender equality and the special contribution women make in social innovation initiatives topped the agenda at Hungary’s first National Network workshop, held March 9 in Budapest.

Twenty-seven people attended the event, nine as first-time participants in a SEiSMiC event. They included social innovation practitioners, academics, researchers, journalists and NGO representatives. No public sector workers took part. Most participants were from Budapest, with a few having travelled from other parts of Hungary. It was also attended by Eva Fabry, Director of the Norway-based European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT), a consortium partner of SEiSMiC.

Too few women in politics
The event hosted discussions on social innovation as a part of “new governance”, and looked at it from women’s perspective. The exchange started from the premise that smart urban development can be achieved only when women’s needs are considered carefully. Social innovation is important to women because it can improve their lives and ensure their participation in social development. 

After the opening, the event proceeded with presentations on a gender view of four professional sectors: civil society, business, media and politics.

Afterwards, participants agreed that the lack of women’s representation in politics could benefit from further scientific research. The group said investigations could start from a few hypotheses, including:

  • Female politicians command less respect and trust because politics are still considered a “man’s job”.
  • The typical daily schedule of politicians does not suit women (or any adult with a family to care for).
  • Important political events tend to happen in male-friendly, rather than female-friendly places e.g. football matches.
  • Men resist female quotas for political positions.


The group also considered some policy measures that would improve female participation in politics:

  • more flexible, family-friendly work schedules;
  • quota for women in political positions;
  • minimum professional requirements for people entering politics, such as at least five years in mid-level management of a civil organization or public office; and
  • capacity building for new politicians

Next steps
The Hungarian National Network will prepare for its next workshop in October by continuing discussions over a Google email group. Two focal topics were suggested, including green cities and unused urban space.

The full report on Hungary’s first National Network workshop is here.

Related video here.