“The only message I have for you today is that we cannot effectively support women until we take into account that most of them (most of us) are mothers or will be mothers at some point,” said Hungarian President Katalin Novák at the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Monday.
She stressed that women have the privilege to give birth and that girls and women around the world should be allowed to make their own choices and not be forced to choose between motherhood and a career. Katalin Novák pointed out that in the Western world, women now have similar opportunities to men, “in education, in careers, in advancement in the workplace, the real difference is whether or not we have children.”
The Hungarian President stressed that she herself is the mother of three children. She added:
We can lead armies, we can govern states, but the most important and indispensable thing is our own family. There and only there are we irreplaceable.”
Novák pointed out that the traditional family, which is the basis of Judeo-Christian culture, is under attack and the family 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families apart” and discourage young people from having children, and although many people consider family life to be outdated, Novák, defending traditional families, said that “our values do not change with the passage of time.”
She pointed out that families consisting of mother, father, and children are “in the crosshairs” and that “many people look down on those who fulfill themselves in raising children.” At the same time, many attack the family-centered Hungarian model and “want to prevent us from deciding for ourselves how to raise our children,” Novák stated.
The Hungarian President also spoke about the war in Ukraine, saying that there is no life that the war can justify the loss of. Quoting Pope Francis, she said that there are no just wars. She emphasized she was speaking on behalf of Hungarians in Hungary and beyond its borders, 150,000 of whom live in Ukraine as members of the Hungarian national community.
Heads of state and government officials from several countries around the world also spoke at the 67th annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Novák met with youth delegates to the UN before the session of the commission to discuss issues of concern and interest to young people and the role of women in society. She spoke about her own work and answered questions from young people.
In addition to the Hungarian UN Youth Representative, the meeting was attended by delegates from the European Union, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and others. Novák spoke about reconciling family and career, her own experiences, and her work in the Hungarian government in this field. In the margins of the event, the Hungarian President also had a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Morocco.
On Sunday, the first day of her visit to the United States, President Novák gave a lecture to leading American Christian intellectuals on Hungarian politics and its Christian foundations. Among other things, she spoke about Hungary’s relationship with Christianity, the elements of Hungarian politics that affect it, and the social impact of Christian roots.
Novák’s official visit to the United States continues in Tallahassee, Florida on Tuesday.
Featured photo via Facebook/Katalin Novák