And so, we are treated to the usual pantomime from the Left. International Women’s Day has just been, and as is typical at times like these, people have focussed not so much on a celebration of women, but on the differences between the positions held by women in comparison to those held by men.
But do those traditional accusations and charges fit into boxes marked Left and Right as we have long been encouraged to believe?
In Hungary, the Left have long declared that they are the ones fighting for the cause of women, yet closer inspection reveals that the claim may well be nothing but smoke and mirrors.
The mayor of the 2nd district is a man who identifies with the Left. He is a member of MSZP, the Hungarian Socialist Party. MSZP itself, of course, was created out of the ashes of MSZMP, the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. MSZMP, of course, was rightly seen as an untenable party after the return of democracy to Hungary in 1989.
So, the socialist head of Budapest’s 2nd district can surely be expected to be a firm believer in advancing the cause of women irrespective of the fact that he’s a man, can’t he?
It appears that the mayor of the 2nd district, committed socialist that he might be, is all mouth and no trousers. The conservative Fidesz members of the 2nd district have recently sought to reveal the lack of garments in the mayor’s wardrobe. They chose to do so on International Women’s Day as one of the mayor’s plans to elevate the cause of women in the district was centred around this day.
That particular plan of the mayor’s involved the renaming of public spaces after women.
Fine. As the 2nd district Fidesz organisation itself stated, such an idea might well be termed a ‘nice gesture’. Unfortunately, as they went on to point out, the mayor’s ‘nice gesture’ features nothing beyond the gesture. According to Fidesz, the mayor is seemingly obsessed with his own, personal popularity. Whilst accepting that this, in itself is not unusual when dealing with mayors, this goal seems to have spun out of control where the mayor, Őrsi, is concerned. His only goal, according to his opponents, is to present himself in a light where, regardless of reality, the mayor is truly nothing other than the greatest bloke about.
But, ignoring the mayor’s attempts to woo the general public with his undoubted charms, back to the idea of naming public spaces after women, an idea planned to celebrate women on International Women’s Day. An idea trumpeted by the mayor himself on Facebook:
“Today in Budapest the percentage of streets bearing the names of actual persons is divided with 89% of those streets named after men, and 11% named after women. On March 8, Women’s Day, I would like that ratio to change, and for four, as yet unnamed, public spaces to be named after women of whom we can be proud.”
(Gergely Őrsi’s Facebook post)
One problem, straight out of the blocks, of course, is that these areas don’t actually have names, but no matter. What this means, however, is that nobody has ever looked for these places on a map, and that these 4 locations were never deemed of even the slightest importance: they were never even named. Surely that’s not the greatest gesture the mayor could have thought of?
Typically, it falls to those who are most often accused of sexism to reveal the truth of the matter. So it was the Fidesz organisation of the 2nd district that much as the incumbent mayor likes to wax lyrical about such topical subjects as the promotion of women and the elevation of LGBTQ rights, he has neglected to consider that which went before him, and the progress that was made by others.
For instance, between 2006 and 2019 there was a single deputy mayor present in the 2nd district. When Őrsi won the district, he did so with the support of a left-wing coalition composed of the usual suspects: Momentum, DK (Democratic Coalition), MSZP, Párbeszéd (Dialogue for Hungary), and LMP (Politics can be different).
Thus whilst there was a single deputy mayor from 2006 to 2019, from 2019 until the present day, four deputies serve the mayor. That’s one thing that coalition support will do for you – increase the number of advisors and hangers-on. The previous deputy mayor was a woman. The incumbent four are all men, which means that the mayor has reduced the role of women in this particular area of local governance from 100% to 0. That dents his credentials as far as women are concerned, surely, to say nothing of the effect that quadruple wages will have on the local council’s budget.
With the council – a hybrid beast of negligible worth – as it now stands, we have a majority formed from the Left: DK (Democratic Coalition), Momentum, LMP (Politics can be different), MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party), and PM (Dialogue for Hungary). They number 12. They are faced by the Fidesz-Christian Democratic People’s Party coalition in opposition. They number 8.
In the controlling majority coalition of 12, there are at present 2 women.
In the minority opposition coalition of 8, there are at present 2 women.
So, when we descend to percentage points, once more, we can see that the Left have also achieved less than the Right. 16.66 ... % versus 25%.
Incidentally, the latest figures have been released by good people at Eurostat. There, for all to see are the figures that reveal what the state of play is. With data based on the 3rd quarter of 2020, we can see that 34% of managers in the EU, 3.3 million people, are women. The highest percentages were registered in Latvia and Poland with 45 and 44% respectively. Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Sweden all came joint 3rd with 42%.