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Reform Support
Reducing employment gender gap in the Hungarian labour market

Supporting reforms to strengthen labour markets, social protection systems and migration management

Funding Programme
  • 2019

Reducing employment gender gap in the Hungarian labour market 

The Commission supports the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities in i) gaining a better understanding of the barriers to gender equality in employment, ii) increasing their knowledge of relevant international practice to close employment gender gaps, and iii) enhancing their capacity to improve the effectiveness and coherence of gender-related policies. This support is intended to close the employment gender gap in Hungary. 


Hungary has made several efforts to tackle gender employment gap by reforming the parental leave system, introducing incentives for employers to hire women returning from maternity leave, increasing the child care benefits and extending these to employed women. However, the alarming gender employment gap has been repeatedly flagged by the European Commission in the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) since 2017, as among EU Member States, Hungary recorded the highest increase of gender employment gap (+4.2 pp) between 2012 and 2017. Against this background, the Ministry of Human Capacities is willing to analyse the reasons for such considerable gender employment gap to inform policymaking and enhance the impact of existing initiatives.  

Specifically, the request is link to the following EU priorities: 

  • 2017 CSR: “The gender employment gap has increased in recent years and the impact of parenthood on women’s employment is one of the highest in the EU”;
  • 2018 CSR: “The gender employment gap is wide, especially in the 25-39 age group, which can in part be explained by a limited supply of good quality childcare”;
  • 2019 CSR: “The gaps in employment and wages between skills groups and men and women remain wide in comparison with the EU average. The gender employment gap is wide partly due to the limited supply of good quality childcare” (paragraph 9); 
  • 2019 CSR: “Hungary was  encouraged to take action in 2019 and 2020 to “Continue the labour market integration of the most vulnerable groups in particular by upskilling, and improve the adequacy of social assistance and unemployment benefits”

Support delivered  

Support measures include: 

  • Analysis of legislation, existing policies and drivers for low participation of women in the labour market (drawing from results of “Family friendly country” ESF project); 
  • Collection of stakeholders’ feedback on challenges faced by women in accessing the labour market (surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups) 
  • Review and exchange of EU best practice on measures/policies to reduce the gender employment gap; 
  • Development of a “policy toolbox” covering all relevant policy areas (labour market policies - employment conditions and arrangements, social policies - childcare, elderly care, welfare benefits to tackle gender employment gap etc.); 
  • Identification of available EU sources to fund the measures (e.g., ESF funds) 
  • Design and implementation of a pilot to test some of the proposed policy measures; 
  • Development of a monitoring and evaluation methodology; 
  • Design of an awareness-raise campaign to promote the new policy measures.  

Results achieved 

The technical support is helping to bring together different national stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of policies that have an impact on employment gender gap (especially social and labour policies). The definition of a coherent policy toolbox would enable the MS to improve the consistency between different policy areas. In addition, the technical support will enable the MS to better understand if the shortcomings of existing policies and the root causes of women’s low participation in Hungary. This in-depth analysis and review of good practice will feed into the policy toolbox.