‘My only message to you today is that we cannot effectively support women until we take into account that most of them are, or will become mothers,’ said Hungarian President Katalin Novák at the annual meeting of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on Monday in New York.
Women Are Irreplaceable in the Family
President Novák emphasised that women have the privilege of giving birth, so girls and women around the world must be allowed to make their own decisions and not be forced to choose between motherhood and a professional career. Novák pointed out that in the Western world, women already have similar opportunities for success as men, and the substantive difference in education, career, and workplace advancement is whether they choose to have children or not.
She nailed down that no one can effectively support women until they take into account that most women are or will become mothers, emphasising that she herself is a mother of three. She added that women can command armies, govern states, but they are truly indispensable only to their own families. There, and only there, are they irreplaceable.
In her speech, Katalin Novák spoke about how the traditional family, which forms the basis of Judeo-Christian culture, is under attack, so families and family values must be defended. The President warned that ‘unprecedented forces are working to tear families apart’ and discourage young people from having children, and although many consider family life outdated, she disagrees. She said traditional families must be preserved, because ‘Our values do not change over time.’
The President drew attention to the fact that ‘families consisting of mothers, fathers, and children are in the crosshairs’ and furthermore, many despise those who find fulfilment in raising children. Although many attack Hungary’s family-centred model and ‘try to prevent people from deciding how to raise their children’, Katalin Novák stated, ‘We often feel that those who have not undertaken raising their own, want to raise our children…but we will protect our children, our culture, and our traditions.’
Hungarians Do Not Want to Fuel the War
The President stated that there is no life whose loss could be justified by war, citing Pope Francis’s statement that there are no just wars. She said: ‘I reiterate our firm commitment to peace. We want peace! We, Christians, we, Hungarians, we, mothers, do not want to fuel this war, but to end it.’ Katalin Novák declared that Hungary is not a country that wages war, but one that strives for peace and cooperation with all nations.
The President reminded that Hungary is one of the neighbours of Ukraine, a country at war. She said she speaks on behalf of Hungarians both in Hungary and abroad, including the 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine. ‘We have been living in the shadow of war for a year, and we still don’t see the end of it. The suffering primarily affects families,’ the President pointed out.
At the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, heads of state and government officials from several countries around the world made remarks. Prior to the session of the Commission, Katalin Novák met with youth delegates to the United Nations to discuss topics of interest to young people and to talk about the role of women in society. She spoke about her work and answered questions from young people.
In addition to the Hungarians, the youth representatives of the European Union, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan also attended the meeting. Novák spoke about the compatibility of family and career, her own experience in that regard, and referred to her previous work in the Hungarian government to in this area. As part of the event, Katalin Novák held bilateral talks with the Moroccan Foreign Minister.