Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has banned gender studies. He signed a controversial decree that drops this subject from a list of master’s degree programmes entitled to official accreditation and financial support.

On October 16, the Budapest-based Central European University (CEU) issued a statement criticising Orbán’s decision. It said: “This is a major infringement on academic freedom and university autonomy. Eliminating this programme will be a significant loss to the Hungarian scholarly community and for democratically-minded public policy.”

The CEU, one of only two universities in Hungary that offered gender studies degrees.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), a magazine owned by a close ally of Orbán published in June a list of researchers at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, accusing them of working on “gay rights and gender science”.

Orbán’s deputy Zsolt Semjen said later gender studies “has no business (being taught) in universities,” because it is “an ideology not a science”.

Labour market demand for gender studies graduates was also “close to zero”, as “no one wants to employ a gender-ologist,” Semjen said.