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.


  1. Just why Hungarian women do not participate in political activities?
    Or why they do not run for office ?
    They simply need to be more active !

  2. @ Bendeguz79

    “Just why Hungarian women do not participate in political activities?
    Or why they do not run for office ?”

    Not a very good question Bendegoose. Woman DO participate very actively in Hungarian politics, but they are grossly underrepresented in Parliament. The gates into Parliament are controlled by men, and the concept of positive discrimination is not part of Hungary’s political culture.

    Mr. Orbán, for example, handpicks every FIDESZ MP. No Fidesz MP can run for office without his permission. He COULD, with a simple executive decision do what Justin Trudeau did in Canada. Why ? Because it’s 2017, and womens’ place should not be reserved exclusively for cooking, child rearing, and church work. Like his good buddy down south, he is more interested in “Rocket Man” and “grabbing women by the pussy”.

    You may also ask next time why there are no Roma announcers on Hungarian TV, why there are no people of color in any Hungarian TV ads, why the rate of racial hatred has increased rather than decreased under the prime ministership of Mr. Orbán, and why Mr. Orbán is fighting to keep Hungary free of non-white, non-Christian, non-heterosexual Homo Sapiens. The answer to these questions is similar to the one I gave earlier. Mr. Orbán, by his own admission, is building an “illiberal” state, where respect for the values of equal opportunity, human rights, civil liberties, respect for cultural diversity, are at the bottom, rather than top of the government’s list of priorities. Happy now ?

  3. What if less Hungarian women WANT to be politicians? It is anyway such a sorry occupation. Why would you want to force more women (or more of any kind of person) to do it? Let it be for those who like that stuff… To claim that more Hungarian women would want to be in parliament compared to men than the current percentage is pointless without any proof. Sounds like Mrs. Clinton when she blames her loss on stuff like misogyny… quite pathetic.

  4. Gollner addressed his response to me, yet my reply is eliminated, time and time again.
    Is that a free press ?

    But to state it again, members of the Parlament represent the population of their electoral district. Not men, not women, but all people.

    If women participate in politecs and they can vin elections they will be in Parlament.

    Oh, that is not how it works in Hungary?
    The party leaders make all decisions ,not the voters.
    Interesting, but than how can you call it “democracy”?

  5. @ Bendagoose

    “If women participate in politecs (sic) and they can vin (sic) elections they will be in Parlament (sic)”

    In Hungary, the participation rate of women in politics is quite high, But there is a glass ceiling beyond which they cannot go. They are allowed to fetch water for the boys on top, to work the phones, do the heavy lifting, but, in the case of Fidesz, Mr. Orbán personally decides who can run for a seat in Parliament and in most local elections as well. The reason why women are underrepresented at the top is not for lack of desire on their part but for lack of equality, and an entrenched male chauvinism personified by Mr. Orbán himself. For Orbán, women belong in the bedroom and the kitchen and not in his cabinet, or in the nation’s Parliament.

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