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|Updated: 26-Mar-2002||Committee on Women in NATO Forces|
The currently prevailing provisions of law being in harmony with the Constitution - relevant for the Hungarian Defence forces - lay down and guarantee in every aspect the equality before the law by forming a guaranty system and drafted in the spirit of the international contracts and charters approved and enacted by the Republic of Hungary.
Our constitution states that the Republic of Hungary assures the equal rights of men and women in every aspect of civilian, political, economical, social and cultural laws as well as human and civil rights for every person being within its territory, without any discrimination as to: race, skin colour, gender, language, religion, political or, without discriminating against difference of opinion, national or social origin, property, or age.
The above stated prohibition against discrimination is supplemented in accordance with the Defence Law stated here: "The armed organisation guarantees the promotion opportunities of the professional personnel without discrimination on the basis of professional skill, experience and performance, as well as service time, taking into account the payment related to the rank and posts." In this context, it can be said that the legal base for any kind of freedom from discrimination is guaranteed by both by the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian Defence Forces.
Women are integrated in the Services under the command of the Chief of Defence. They work and train with their male counterparts, and are subject to the same chains of command, standards of performance and discipline. There is no compulsory service for women in Hungary.
Combat assignments were introduced for women in 1996. Starting in 1994, women have been able to apply and compete for entrance into the military academy (university). Female soldiers are covered under maternity/paternity leave policies as stipulated by national law.
Female personnel are integrated at all levels but fill only limited positions at the command level. Although women can serve in almost all career fields, including combat, the majority of them perform their duties in administrative, personnel, and medical positions. However, one can also find female soldiers serving in the signal corps, radio-reconnaissance, and as anti-tank missile operators.
Hungarian servicewomen comprise approximately 6.4% (3,017) of the total force (~46,678). 671 of the women serve in the officer ranks and approximately 2276 are NCOs. There are no differences in the promotion systems for women and men. The highest-ranking female in the Army is currently a Colonel and in the Air Force, a Major. (The Hungarian Defence Forces have only two Services: Army and Air Force.)
The Hungarian Defence Forces conducts its recruiting with no gender restriction. In the case of people applying for the contract service, the basic components of the entrance requirements is the completion of the 8-year long primary school and on age limit of 18-30.
The Hungarian Defence Forces would like to increase the numbers of contract personnel. For this reason, a Recruiting Office was opened in 2001. From the 300 people recruited, 163 were women.
The so-called "Open days" program, which has been organised regularly for 5 years, has been a great success from the point of view of career orientation and for increase the numbers of applicants joining the Hungarian Defence Forces. This program gives the military educational institutes and military organisations the opportunity to introduce themselves, as well as to make the Hungarian Defence Forces more attractive to the civilian population. According to the statistics, the program is very popular in the garrisons and contributes to a large extent the increase in numbers of those who apply to become contract personnel.
The training of women for a military career involves the same provisions of law and inner regulations as for men. Women can apply for any of the military occupations and they can be admitted in the same as men as long as they are physically fit and healthy after successfully passing the entrance examinations conducted by the military educational institute.
For regular personnel, corresponding education, training organised in other forms at the military educational institute and in course of the examination women and men are on equal footing. Furthermore, their provisions, allowances, rights and responsibilities are the same in accordance with the laid down items of the educational contract.
The Hungarian Defence Forces operate Zríny Miklós
National Defence University to provide the necessary supply
of professional soldiers and to secure a sound basis for the
preparation of young people entering military higher education.
At the university, everyone receives the same training: professional
military training with field exercises, economical and engineering
Hungarian servicewomen have deployed in support of IFOR and SFOR missions since 1996. They continue to serve as doctors, medical technicians, in both personnel and administrative posts and in signal corps. Recruitment policy for these types of missions is the same for women and men - screening process including a physical and mental examination and military peacekeeping training.
Recent and Projected Developments
The Hungarian Defence Forces are currently in the middle of reorganisation. These changes concern the officers, NCOs and also their family members. It means that some of military and civilian personnel lost their current position, so they need to be helped in the integration into the civilian society. For this raison, one year ago, was established so-called Office of Manpower Conversation which offers different opportunities of position in the civilian sphere. This Office also has data bank to match the needs of military personnel and other opportunities (market, state and municipal).
The Defence portfolio also established a fund to help the personnel
(women and men) in the education of new skills needing in the
The Hungarian Defence Forces recognise the importance of fully integrating women into the military and are working on women's issues and concerns such as uniform standards, career development, and professional leadership training.
The Committee for the Examination of Equal Opportunities is tasked with reporting to the Chief of Defence and providing information and exchanging ideas with leadership and personnel in subordinate units regarding the situation of women carrying out professional and contract military service.
The reorganisation of the Hungarian Defence Forces, which started last year, actually means cutbacks in the overall number of personnel, however, according to the most recent data (the 31 Dec 2000), the number of women has actually increased.
National Co-ordination Office
National Delegate to the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces