Hungary ends funding for gender studies programs, calling them 'an ideology'

Hungary ends funding for gender studies programs, calling them 'an ideology'

Hungary has ended funding for gender studies degrees at its universities, citing low enrollment and saying the field of study is an “ideology, not a science.”

Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed a decree that went into effect Saturday, effectively eliminating the degree program, according to Reuters.

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The decree removes gender studies from the list of approved master’s programs. Students already enrolled are allowed to remain in the program.

“The Hungarian government is of the clear view that people are born either men or women,” Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said in August. “They lead their lives the way they think best, but beyond this, the Hungarian state does not wish to spend public funds on education in this area.”

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen said gender studies "has no business in universities" because it is "an ideology, not a science," according to Agency France-Press.

Orban, the right-wing populist leader who was reelected in April to a third term, said that major cultural changes were to come. This week's decision marks the first major shift.

Budapest-based Central European University (CEU) is one of two universities in Hungary that offers gender studies programs. The school, founded by American billionaire George Soros, called the decree “a significant loss to the Hungarian scholarly community and for democratically-minded public policymakers.”

Eva Fodor, a professor of social sciences and humanities at CEU who has taught gender studies for 15 years, said the ban is “atrocious” and unheard of in democratic societies, according to Fox News.