The leader of Hungary is under fire for a recent government decree that effectively bans gender studies at all universities in the country.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed the decree over the weekend, which dropped the courses from a list of master’s degrees programs entitled to accreditation and federal financial support, reports Newsweek.
The administration is "of the clear view that people are born either men or women,” said Orban's chief of staff Gergely Gulyas, when the Hungarian government proposed the ban in August, according to Reuters. “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.”
Just two Hungarian universities currently offer gender studies degrees, including Budapest-based Central European University (CEU), which has been teaching the courses for 20 years. While students who have already begun gender studies will be permitted to complete them, schools are banned from introducing any new classes moving forward.
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen was quoted in Agence France-Presse as saying that gender studies "has no business [being taught] in universities" because it is "an ideology, not a science," adding that market demand for gender studies graduates was "close to zero" as "no one wants to employ a gender-ologist."
But champions of gender studies, including CEU founder and activist US billionaire George Soros, contend that eliminating its gender studies program will incur a "significant loss to the Hungarian scholarly community and for democratically-minded public policy."