The concept of gender mainstreaming started to appear in policy documents due to the country’s accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004 and the accessibility of Structural Funds, which require gender mainstreaming to be implemented in national development policy programming. It follows that the New Hungary Development Plan – the country’s main document on expenditure of EU Structural Funds – specifies gender mainstreaming as a mechanism that should be utilised in programming. Moreover, in 2010 the main policy document for gender-equality policy planning was adopted – the National Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality 2010–2021 – and emphasises the importance of gender mainstreaming.
After ministerial reorganisation in April 2013, the Departmental Unit of Population, Family Affairs and Gender Equality, within the Department of Family Policy at the Ministry of Human Resources, has become the main national agency for gender equality.
Since 1999, the Council for Gender Equality has served as a tripartite consultative body for public administration officials, non-governmental gender representatives and experts. Unfortunately, this council has not operated continuously and has not convened since 2010.
Moreover, following the adoption of the Act on Equal Treatment in 2003, an Equal Treatment Authority was launched in 2005 as an independent administrative body tasked with safeguarding the values embraced by the ‘equality directives’.
Laws and policies
In 2003, in preparation for EU membership, the Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunities was adopted. This act set up a framework for the fight against discrimination and, in accordance with EU directives, established the Equal Treatment Authority to monitor the execution of legislation.
Access to EU Structural Funds led to the incorporation of gender equality in the New Hungary Development Plan for the period 2007–2013. This plan identifies gender equality as a horizontal principle and sets out specific programmes and measures targeting women and gender issues; it also specifies gender mainstreaming as a mechanism to be incorporated into all levels and stages of the programming process, including planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
In 2010, the first long-term National Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality (2010–2021) provided for gender-mainstreaming measures in policymaking, including national administration, capacity-building, gender budgeting and statistics. It also defined mechanisms for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of gender mainstreaming, even though no monitoring or evaluation reports were prepared for its first period. A first Action Plan was adopted for 2010–2011, but no other has followed for the time being. The government plans to revise the strategy and adopt a new version.
Methods and tools
The most important methods utilised are capacity building, knowledge generation/research, indicators, sex-disaggregated statistics and stakeholder consultations.