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Education in Hungary risks being 'too feminine', says study

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By AFP
A teaching assistant helps a child with her assigment in a school in Budapest, Hungary Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
A teaching assistant helps a child with her assigment in a school in Budapest, Hungary Tuesday, March 31, 2020.   -   Copyright  Noemi Bruzak/MTI via AP

Hungary's State Audit Office (NAO) has expressed concern that the country's education system risks being “too feminine”.

In a new study, the authority warned that Hungary's education could pose demographic challenges and impact the development of boys.

“The phenomenon called ‘pink education’ has numerous economic and social consequences,” it wrote.

"If education favours feminine traits [such as] emotional and social maturity [and] therefore causes an over-representation of women at university, [gender] equality will be significantly weakened."

The state body -- which is close to nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán -- also warned that men who are more inclined to take risks and be entrepreneurial will not be able to fully develop their potential.

The NAO report stated that this can lead to "mental and behavioural problems" when their creativity and innovation are "necessary for the optimal development of the economy".

The audit office also says that “pink education” could cause “demographical problems” as educated women would be unable to find similarly educated spouses, “which could lead to a decline in fertility”.

The study -- issued last month -- was first published by the Nepszava newspaper on Thursday.

Like in many European countries, Hungary's teaching profession is dominated by women (82%).

But the study has been slammed by liberal opposition MP Endre Toth, who said on Facebook that talk of masculine and feminine qualities was "complete scientific nonsense".

"It is time to take off the glasses of the last century," he added.

Hungarian PM Orbán has promoted a "conservative revolution" since returning to power in 2010 and has pledged to encourage the birth rate while denigrating immigration and banning LGBTQ content for children.

In 2019, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner noted " a regression of women’s rights and gender equality in Hungary".

Although Hungary recently swore in a female president -- Katalin Novak -- justice minister Judit Varga is the only woman in the government.

The country also ranks second to last in the European Union in terms of the number of female MPs (12.6%), ahead of Malta.