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Sexist comments on national media sparked the biggest social media storm Hungary has ever seen

Orsi ParkanyiArticle by Orsi Parkanyi

The Hungarian subsidiary of German giant Deutsche Telekom’s decision to discontinue sponsoring a Hungarian pop artist came two days after the singer made controversial remarks over the role of women in society.

Singer and song writer Mr Akos Kovacs had sparked a social media storm when he proclaimed that “a woman’s main job is not to make more money than men and not to compete in the job market”. He made these comments in an interview broadcast on the national Hungarian TV channel on Monday.

Akos went on: “A woman’s most important job is to belong to someone and to have babies.  It’s not by chance that women’s hips are wider than men’s, the purpose of it is to carry children” His comments did not came as a big surprise to many given that Akos is known for his conservative political views, however, this time around his comments made a hit and sparked the biggest outrage from the female population Hungary has ever seen.

In response, one of the singer’s major event sponsors, a German telecommunications company ‘Magyar Telekom’ confirmed on Wednesday that it had terminated its contract with the singer.

“Our company values are not compatible with Akos’ beliefs and value system,” the company said in a statement.

Akos comments came after a speech given by the leader of the parliament, Mr Laszlo Kover at a recent congress of the ruling right-wing Fidesz party, whereby Kover expressed his dream requests from the women of Hungary: ”We would like if our daughters considered giving birth as the highest form of self-fulfillment and I would like to see our women to make us lots of  grandchildren to us,” “We would like to also emphasize that one child is not enough. People who have sisters and brothers grow up to become selfless and better adults. Remember woman, the biggest thing you can give to your child is a sibling”

The comments came at no surprise to me personally. Considering that less than 10 percent of lawmakers in Hungary’s parliament are female – compared to an EU average of around 23 percent – while there are no – none, not even one! –  women in Orban’s 13-member government cabinet, it is highly unlikely the Hungarian government is able to do a great service to over half of the country’s population.

koverWhat I have also found interesting, was how much humor was used in people’s communications, women and men who got offended by the comments started to tease Kover and Kovacs and other supporters. One of the initiatives was to send negative pregnancy tests to Kover’s office at the parliament.

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