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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Opposition to Gender+ Equality in Times of Crises: The Case of Hungary

Europe (Central and Eastern)
European Union
Bianka Vida
University of Surrey
Bianka Vida
University of Surrey

Since the 2008 economic crisis, gender equality as a foundational norm of the EU (European Union) has been increasingly facing contestation and criticism from a wide range of different ideas and actors (Kantola and Lombardo 2017). As the EU has extended its austerity politics as a response to the crisis, this recent political and ideological turn has also been manifested in member states’ turn away from the social democratic notion of gender equality which gave a rise to conservative right-wing populist movements united with a common goal to mobilise against gender+ equality (Kovats and Poim 2015; Paternotte and Kuhar 2017). This paper seeks to contribute to this discussion through the case study of Hungary by analysing the recent law and policy reforms that the current Hungarian government has introduced in relation to gender+ equality in Hungary from 2010 onwards. On the one hand, the paper argues that the government’s political agenda opposing to gender+ equality is informed by neoliberalism, nationalism and social conservativism which enables the government to redefine gender+ equality in a (neo)conservative, (neo)nationalist and heteronormative (neo)patriarchal way. On the other hand, the paper also demonstrates that the EU’s new economic governance that fails to address gender equality as a social and political goal since the economic crisis controversially secures a perfect breeding ground for the Hungarian government to increasingly oppose to gender+ equality.
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