WOMEN: Changing Roles: Shifting Attitudes And Expectations

TRADITIONAL PHILOSOPHIES REGARDING gender roles are rarely challenged in Hungary today, and making sweeping statements about discrimination against women is difficult. Several obstacles prevent the emergence of a critical awareness of discrimination. The first is pervasive essen-tialism: the belief that men and women have different innate characteristics that are part of their “essences” – for example, that men are the primary bearers of traits such as competitiveness, strength, and self-reliance – traits necessary for political success. Second, women do not evaluate their position by comparing it directly to men’s. In fact, Hungarian women do not consider themselves disadvantaged or oppressed. Third, in the past few years, there have been quite a few women who have begun successful careers as entrepreneurs or managers; as is usually true in most societies, however, women do not form a homogeneous group.1