With the Best of Intentions?: The Gender Politics of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party
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This thesis focuses on gender inequality and the measures taken to reduce the gender gap in Hungary during the Communist era. More specifically, it studies the role of the state in regulating the gender divide. The role of the state is examined by analyzing the governing Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party’s attitude and policies toward the “woman question.” As primary sources, various reports and articles dealing with the position of women are used. The study follows an interdisciplinary approach, building on both sociological and historical secondary sources to inform the discourse analysis performed on the primary sources. It shows that the issue of women’s emancipation was important for the Party for both ideological and socio-economic reasons. However, the measures taken to defy gender inequality were only partially effective, and a number of new problems arose over time. The thesis concludes that gender equality was seen by the majority of the population as an external imposition by the state, and thus it was not a commonly desired outcome, while on the part of the state, the issue was not prioritized sufficiently due to the lack of material resources. These factors together explain why the efforts aimed at women’s emancipation had little success eventually.