Hungary has lowest proportion of women in parliament in all of Europe

Only 10% of Members of Parliament in Hungary are women, according to figures comparing 193 countries compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and updated last month. Hungary is ranked at number 159 and is essentially tied with countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Myanmar and Botswana. All of Hungary’s neighbours in Europe have a significantly higher proportion of female parliamentarians than Hungary. In Slovenia, this proportion is 36.7%, in Serbia it is 34.4%, in Austria it stands at 30.6%, while in Romania it is 20.7%, and 2o% in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Ukraine’s proportion is closer to that of Hungary, at 12.3%.

A map produced by Apolitical, based on the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s figures, illustrates just how much Hungary stands out among European countries and, unfortunately, not in a positive way.

Source: Apolitical.

For our Canadian readers, it is worth pointing out that the proportion of women in parliament tends to be higher in Europe. In Canada, this proportion is 26.3% and the country is ranked 62, much lower than European states like Sweden (43.6%), Finland (42%), Norway (39.6%), Spain (39.1), France (39%), Germany (37%) or the United Kingdom (32%). Canada is also behind Poland, generally seen social conservative and culturally Catholic, where the proportion of women is 28%.

In Hungary, out of 199 MPs, only 20 are women. On a more positive note, however, an earlier study by Policy Solutions found that women in Hungary’s parliament are generally the most active and most engaged politicians. Among the most active is Erzsébet Schmuck of the Politics Can Be Different Party (LMP), who spoke up in parliament 326 times between 2014 and 2016. Ms. Schmuck is 63 years old and is an environmentalist by profession, having played a key role in a number of green movements after 1989. She first became an MP for LMP, the opposition green party, in 2014 and was among the party’s founders in 2009.

Erzsébet Schmuck

The second most active is also an LMP politcian, namely Bernadett Széll (291), followed by Mrs. Ildikó Borbély Bangó of the Hungarian Socialist Party (229). The fourth and fifth most active female politicians are also found in the Hungarian Socialist Party.

In stark contrast, but perhaps not surprisingly, the least active female MPs in terms of interjections are affiliated with Fidesz. For instance, Márta Mátrai and Katalin Csöbör both spoke up less than ten times over a two year period.

The 20 female parliamentarians are also among the most likely to be present for votes, with the attendance rate among women standing at 85%. In this category, female MPs affiliated with Fidesz were the most likely to show up for votes, with their attendance rate closer to 90%. This is likely due to caucus discipline, which is greater in Fidesz than in any other party.

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