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Hungary Revokes Government Funding for Gender Studies

Students placed a sticker on the door of a new gender-neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle on Tuesday.
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Hungary has revoked funding for gender studies after the government cited concerns about employment opportunities for graduates.

Hungary’s government announced in August that it would no longer fund the Master’s programme which is taught at the biggest state-funded Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) and the Central European University (CEU), founded by George Soros.

According to 444.hu, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán signed the degree on Friday, the document reading: “139/2015 is expired. (VI.9.) Government Decree No. 115. Line.”

CEU published a statement on its website Tuesday, claiming there was “strong opposition” to the removal of the programme from the country’s list of accredited postgraduate courses.

“This is a major infringement on academic freedom and university autonomy,” they said.

“Gender Studies is an internationally recognized academic field, which produces socially relevant knowledge, and which has been taught at CEU for well over two decades.

“Eliminating this program will be a significant loss to the Hungarian scholarly community and for democratically-minded public policy makers,” they added.

Professor of gender studies at CEU Andrea Peto commented on the loss on Facebook, remarking that where the programme was listed (line 115) was now an empty row.

She added that “A new study program ‘Economics of Family Policy and Public Policies for Human Development’ was registered without accreditation.

“This is a beginning of a new era in the history of the Hungarian Higher Education.”

In August, Prime Minister Orbán’s Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyas had said that “The Hungarian government is of the clear view that people are born either men or women.

“They lead their lives the way they think best, but beyond this, the Hungarian state does not wish to spend public funds on education in this area.”

The country’s deputy prime minister, Zsolt Semjen, had rationalised withdrawing funding on grounds that the discipline was “an ideology not a science” and market demand for gender studies graduates was “close to zero”, hence using taxpayer’s cash to fund the course was a waste.

“No-one wants to employ a gender-ologist,” Semjen added.

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