value of women

We hadn't planned it, but it just so happened that in our workplace community, we have a majority of women. And it's not because we are stereotypically female, it's because we are! Wind tunnelling used to be much more testosterone-fuelled - much like

value of women

Why is it important to talk about this? Because it's far from clear that we have the same chances of entering and succeeding in the labour market as our male counterparts. Not even if gender equality is a basic human right, not even if we can study anything we like, work anything we like and not even if we can vote, oops. While there seems to be a whole world working to close the gap in social status, rights and opportunities between women and men, we are in fact at the beginning. At the end of a process that will never even think of writing an article like this, because no one will understand the premise: what's the big deal, more women, and that's that! 

It is almost a blink of an eye - in the grand scheme of things - 131 years since women were allowed to vote. This natural form of expression for men was first granted to women in New Zealand, preceded by a series of serious organising, movement and petitioning. The militant women who had paved the way for us to influence society were accused, for example, of being totally unjustified in seeking equality for women, because they had no desire for it. But even if they did, and they happened to vote, they would only do so if their priest or the Prime Minister in charge told them to. In Hungary, we have been able to vote since 1918 and, just for interest, in Switzerland since 1971... Which was almost yesterday. In Switzerland...

While we devour the Bridgerton family episodes, where Eloise's desire for independence without a man, for a life of independence without a man, is a side story and a light-hearted whim, because the point is colourful-sweet romance, it is hard to imagine what we ourselves would have done in that era: we would have waited resignedly to get married and have children, and our greatest business might have been painting and writing and organising charity evenings. Or to remain a spinster, alone, on the family's back? To dance on the margins of society?

To choose a vocation and study is the luxury of the present for us. The first Hungarian doctor to graduate was Vilma Hugonnai, who could only receive her diploma at home in 1897, 18 years after she had received it in Zurich. In Hungary, women were only allowed to enrol at university from 1895. But the woman of noble birth devoted her whole life to paving the way for us to obtain a doctorate. Even today, in our universities, boys and girls can still say, in jest, 'stop talking and be glad you can come here and vote'. As a joke. A joke?

It is now and still is a joke to stress that a woman is treated equally in a company if she is paid the same as her male colleague in the same job (equal pay for equal work was introduced in the 1957 Treaty of Rome). Yet, according to the European Parliament, by 2023 women in Europe will earn on average 12.7% less per hour than men. While we can list many reasons for the gender pay gap (family commitments, part-time working ambitions), the fast train of life is rolling over us ever more violently. It is a tired and tired phrase that the best measure of our equality is in the burden we bear, because we MUST and WANT to do everything. We are mothers, wives, careerists, or just pretty and, last but not least, happy.

But matriarchal society has not only made us women. Men are just as much the losers in this affair, now role- and task-divided and just as much wayward as we women. There are no winners and losers. There are men and women. A thousand faces, a hundred ways of functioning, of thriving and dreaming. Still not right, still not the one. But at least we know that we are on our way and that we are still at the beginning of the journey. At the very beginning.


Don't get left behind!