The long maternity leave causes the inferior position of women in the labor market in Hungary?


The three-year child-raising support is rare in the world, so this is why there is less research about the impact on women’s labor market situation. This must be sure that in the countries which gave the possibility of the long term maternity leave fewer women employed in high positions at work, and this causes the bigger gap between men and women wages as well.

The inflexible labor market, the traditional work schedules, low mobility, low wages, lack of places in kindergartens, the families of limited resources are causing the radical conflict between family and work. Meanwhile the OECD countries, women raising children under the age of three 50% of them are working and in Hungary this rage is only 15%. Probably this is caused by the long (3years) maternity leave, but politicians and scientists are having a long debate about this topic.

The long maternity leave and the child care tells us a lot about the relationship between women to the labor market, and even about Hungarian welfare state as well – said Eva Fodor, the member of the CEU (Central European University). Eva Fodor made a research with dozens of interviews with mothers in child care. It turned out that the majority of these women during their maternity leave were working something, but uncertain, under their qualifications, ad hoc work performed. They were not working in stable time during they “gyes” (Hungarian Maternity Leave), because they think that the work could not be done in the same time of taking care of their new born child but because of this strategy seemed to be the best that during the child care they were trying to get money another way. The money they received was below the minimum wage in most cases, and the work what they could do were mostly black and often under difficult circumstances.

Most women wanted to express more stable work also they were actively seeking for work, but they had to face with the discriminations of the employers and the fact that they will not get a job until their kids are placed in the child day care centers, where the women in full time jobs have more advantages. The child care reduces poverty for many families and means financial stability but causes more difficulty for women in the labor market.


Saudi Arabia and employing women


When we are talking about the labor market and the employment of the woman we must mention countries where discrimination is much more radical as in our countries. I chose Saudi Arabia and a radical new step about the employment of woman.

In 2010 so only 2 years ago the huge supermarket chain employed 16 women as a cashier in Saudi Arabia where the segregation of woman and man are really strict. Panda supermarket chain employed 16 woman as a cashier in the town called Jeddah which is next to the Red Sea. Tariq Ismail, the chain’s spokesman said the women are much more diligent than men. If they receive the license of Ministry of Labor, the kingdom of Vahhábita as well they will employ more women as cashiers.

Rosa is an upscale part of the town and in the shopping center where the cash desks operated by women are located there is a sign with: “for women and families”. The supermarket chain tactfully introduced the measure, given the sensitivity of the question. The person who analyses the role of men and women stay together, called Juszef Ahmed al-Sheikh, who is also a teacher at a university in Riyadh in a talk shows said that there must be a boycott against the Panda supermarket chain because of the female cashiers. By the way the supermarket chain operates about fifty stores in the kingdom.

The ladies in the cashier can not wear the chain’s uniform, they must wear the general clothes in the country must which is long and black called Aba (traditional Islamic women’s clothing) and they also need to wear a veil that covers their hair.

In the Saudi restaurants there are special section on women and children and on the other part only men may dine. In Saudi Arabia women can not travel, can not go get married also they mustn’t receive medical care without the permission of the men family members and they can’t drive a car. Arim Assad who is studying the university in Jeddah since 2008 started her campaign to ensure that women can work in lingerie shops. The measure would alleviate much of the consumer confusion, but so far it is without success.

Is it good to be women now?

Discrimination, running into giving birth to a kid, chance of failure, emancipation, general woman roles – career o family. These are only just few thoughts about when we are thinking of the employment of a woman.

Is it hard to stay on foot in the labor market as a woman in the 21st century?

I think it is good to be a woman in this time of period but only if we talk about the labor market of Europe and if we like the challenge what this career is holding for woman. Education now is more available so in the last few dozens of years woman could also enter to the leader positions in the labor market. We must say that we are talking about the labor market in Europe as in Africa and in Asia the situation is a bit different.

I have been in America in the last few years and I had the opportunity to see how it is the question of the discrimination works there. So I can make a short comprehension between USA and Hungary/ Europe.

We in the European Union with the equal opportunities policy we can be satisfied and with the public support, the only question that this long-term effective and sustainable. Not only Hungary but also in Europe significantly we are behind America and the American laws also if we compare the way of thinking of the people also their self-care skills.

In Hungary and in the European countries the social service still working incredibly well and people can count on the public care, which of course is good and humane thing, but on the other hand we (Hungarians or even if we talk about the Europeans) do not have the survival skills and the right management of the crisis as the American people. They primary not waiting for a help from their state, they have their own system and they behave more solidaric with others. Anyway woman can lose their femininity in the career fight. As in USA they have the chance to have a successful fight in the labor market for the leading positions.

If a woman really wants something she will achieve it. But we also should think about the politics. Why we can’t see so many women in the politics? Isn’t this strange? What can be the reason for this?

On the other hand why there are so many careers where we can’t find man? For example the teachers nowadays mostly woman. In USA they started to fill up the gaps of the free places with woman even in the engineering positions which would be really strange if that would happen in European countries.

So we should look around in the world a bit more to see the improving tendencies of the labor market. What do you think about these questions? What tendencies you have in your country?

Global Employment Trends

The following diagram shows us the employment according to gender between 1996 and 2006 in different regions in the world. According to this we can see the radical difference between the employment of woman and man. An examination of the gender gap, i.e. the proportion of economically active females per 100 males indicates the magnitude of gender inequality. In the advanced states the rate of the employment in case of mans are 70% meanwhile less than 50% of the woman employed. In the Middle and North Europe the rates are the same. Otherwise in North Asia this rate is different 83% of the man and 69% of the woman employed in this area. In the South part of Asia the rate of the man is still 81%, but on the other hand the rate of the woman in the Pacific area is only 60%, and in South Asia it is 37%. In Latin America and the Caribbean the rate of the man are reduces with only 1% in this period of time and on the other hand the rate for the woman increased from 47% to 52% in the same time. In Africa the difference is really high between the genders in the Middle East and North parts of Africa 80% of the man and 30% of the woman employed. In the Sub-Saharan Africa the rate is more than twice as high in case of the woman as it is 61% and 81% of the man employed in the labor market.

This diagram shows us the unemployment rate in the whole World and after in the following areas: Developed Economies and European Union, Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa and at Sub-Saharan Africa. So basically in the same areas as the other diagram what we have seen above.

We can consider the same fact that there are high difference in the employment rate according to these diagram and mostly in the Middle East and North Africa. We can say that the differences are much more higher in the African areas.

What can cause these effects what we see in the diagrams? What do you think about these areas?

Do you think that the educational systems and the cultural difference can cause these effects? Or the different judgment of woman and man makes the radical discrepancy between the rates?