Message from the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights on the occasion of the International Women’s Day

The equality of women, the respect of their human dignity, and the attention to their special status is not a gift but rather an everyday task. The rights of women surpass the closed system of a codex: the strength of a society, the scale of solidarity depends on how our communities regard those human rights that specifically women are entitled to. Among the current challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, all the above are particularly important. Good answers can be given to women’s rights-related questions predominantly based on universal human values, reminds dr. Ákos Kozma, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

On 8 March, the respect and the appreciation of women are the centre of attention worldwide. This significant day observed by the United Nations initially highlighted the conditions of equal employment and fair remuneration.

Women’s equality is a constitutional achievement and a result of a process of nearly one and a half centuries, the first segment of which ended in Europe at the end of the 20th century. The right to vote became general, differentiation between genders based upon inheritance and ownership ended, women were granted the right to education, professions and vocations reserved so far only for men became available for women, too.

The task of the 21st century is to turn this legal equality to an everyday requirement and to gradually eradicate the differences between the quality of life of men and women. The protection of rights will only be accessible to everyone, including women, when differences become regarded as strengths, which will eventually guarantee equal dignity.

Those Ombudsmen around the world who became part of the constitutional system, are key institutions in the protection of fundamental rights, their task is to examine and respond to individual fundamental rights-related complaints, and to help create a common understanding of the nature of rights.

The constitutional task of the Hungarian ombudsman institution is to protect the members of all vulnerable social groups. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights explores the status and rights of women in the context of specific characteristics, vulnerable status, and the relationship between a more efficient legal protection and vulnerability. Based on complaints or ex officio, the Commissioner deals with the rights of women with disabilities, women in labor, expectant women, Roma women, homeless women, women in higher education and on the labor market. Its mission is to make it clear that a test of a community’s dignity is how it respects universal rights.

Ombudsman Dr. Ákos Kozma reminds that with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the equality of women, the respect of their human dignity and the attention to their special status is of particular importance, and that good answers can be given to women’s rights-related questions based predominantly on universal human values.