Hungary’s gender pay gap widens with every child a researcher has, prompting calls for the Hungarian Young Academy to grant a new parental integration grant to curb a culture critics say is still steeped in traditional gender roles.
“In Scandinavia or other Western countries, the burden of domestic and other unpaid work is starting to be divided equally between parents, while in Hungary it is mostly going to the women,” said Katalin Solímósi, researcher and co-chair of the Hungarian Young Academy at the University of Iotyvis Lorand. Times Higher Education.
In the year A survey of 1,135 respondents by the Hungarian Young Academy in 2022 found that the gender pay gap for early career researchers grew from Ft46,000 (£102) a month for women without children, 129,000 for those with one child, and Ft159. ,000 and increased Ft175. 000 for those with two or three respectively.
Statutory public sector wages are supposed to limit pay gaps, but women’s lower quotes and publications affect performance-related pay, both due to maternity leave, which is common for up to three years of leave per child. There is also a traditional tendency for laboratory heads to give more paid jobs or gifts to men, says Professor Solimosi, vice-chairman of the European Young Academy.
Since 2010, the Hungarian government has been on a mission to increase the birth rate, forgiving student loans for women under the age of 30 who are in higher education or within two years of graduation, but provides a small amount of assistance to those who want to repay. to work.
Georgina Froehlich, board member of the National Board of Oncology and Academy, said: “I had to start my career again because I was not young and I did not have a lot of time because I had three young children. . “I had to start everything from scratch because all my research topics were transferred to other young and male colleagues during my maternity leave.”
To ease cultural preservation and close the gender pay gap, the Academy is looking for a three-year Ph. 48 million rehabilitation grant, open to anyone after at least one year of uninterrupted parental leave. He is still in negotiations with the ministry.
Dr Solimosi has two children and has taken six years of maternity leave. She kept her publications alive by writing review articles and having collaborators do more lab work, but she still lost promising students. “It’s okay now, but it’s a long process. It will take two or three years to get the first results and publications, to produce trained and valuable students,” she said.
At 30 percent, Hungary sits two percentage points below the EU average for women’s participation in research, and has the highest proportion of women working in “difficult” conditions at 16.5 percent, according to data compiled by the European Commission. .
“I am saddened to see that there are so many wasted and lost talents,” said Dr. Solimosi, adding that her return to academia was only possible with the help of her parents and husband. “There may be women who are more talented than me, but they have not chosen a supportive partner.”