Cultural Construction of Gender

The two recognized gender categories in Hungary are woman or girl and man or boy, depending on a person's age. These categories are assumed by most people to be distinct and, despite 45 years of de jure gender equality during the socialist era, also hierarchical. Within the parameters of class, educational, and even regional differences, in Hungary men and boys generally have a distinct advantage. For example, women who are well into their twenties and even early thirties are often referred to as kis lany, "little girl" (West, 2002) by older people and the generic word for person, ember, is often used to refer to men only. Furthermore, in the past, and even today in some elderly households in rural communities, men's hierarchical position is reflected in women using the formal pronoun and verb endings to refer to their husbands while men use the informal with their wives.

While just a very few Hungarian women continue this practice, many other gender differences continue to be evident throughout Hungarian society. Hungarian boys are freer to join clubs and sports teams while girls are expected to participate in household labor to a greater extent. In adulthood, women's primary responsibilities are to raise at least one child and take care of the home. Most women also expect to work, but in both their own estimation and that of society at large, their economic role outside the home is secondary to their domestic role within it. Even during most of the socialist era, which saw the emancipation of women based on their "right" to work, women were seen primarily as mothers rather than as wives or women (Haney, 1994). Men, on the other hand, are expected to be the main economic providers for their families. Unfortunately, the change in the Hungarian economy has not made this cultural ideal possible for most men, but this fact has not mitigated its social force.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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