17 goals for a better world – no. 5: Gender equality

Our series of articles entitled “Sustainable Tuesday(s)”, will take a look over 17 weeks at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN to make the world a better place.

This time, we take a closer look at goal no. 5: gender equality, which means to:

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Let’s take a firm stance against gender-based discrimination and violence!

The Budapest University of Technology and Economics is dedicated to fostering equal opportunities among its employee and student body. To realize this aspiration, BME introduced its Equal Opportunities Plan in July 2021. The values of equal opportunities are underpinned by the Institutional Development Plan (2021-2025) and also play a key role in the Rector's Programme, which came into force after the Rector’s inauguration in July 2021. From October 2021, the Gender Equality Plan (BME GEP) developed in line with the existing university regulatory framework and the national and European policies, has further strengthened the University’s commitment to an inclusive institutional culture and the fight against gender-based discrimination.

One of the primary focal points outlined in the BME Gender Equality Plan (GEP) is "Supporting work-life balance", encompassing objectives such as "Adjusting work obligations to child-care responsibilities", "Providing family-friendly university infrastructure and services", and “Supporting the reintegration of employees after maternal/paternal leave".

As a member of the European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance (EELISA), the University actively participates in the Alliance's Gender Equality and Diversity Working Group, the EELISA InnoCore WP1 project, and the CESAER EDI working group. Collaborative efforts span across multiple domains, encompassing data collection, qualitative assessment, exchange of international best practices, and facilitation of knowledge-sharing forums.

Since its inception, BME has been a regular host institution for the national series of career guidance programs for girls initiated in 2012 by the Association of Hungarian Women in Science (NaTE). The Girls' Day initiative aims to provide young women with valuable insights into education and career opportunities in higher education institutions, research institutes, technology firms, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses, and associated career pathways. Thanks also to national and BME-initiated career guidance activities, the proportion of female students is gradually increasing in all fields of study, with the proportion of women among BME students having exceeded 34% in 2021.

To underscore the significance of women's contributions, in March 2020, marking the centenary of the graduation of the first woman engineer from BME and commemorating Eszter Pécsi's birthday on March 8th, the University of Technology dedicated lecture hall no. 95 on the 1st floor of the Central Building to the renowned alumna. In parallel, the Pro Progressio Foundation, working alongside BME, established the Eszter Pécsi Award for Teachers in 2022, complete with a substantial monetary reward. The award aims to inspire and encourage girls in high school to pursue careers in technology and science by holding up Eszter Pécsi's life and work as an example, and recognising exceptional high school educators who play pivotal roles in their students’ career choices and preparation for university education. In addition, the symbolic unveiling of a statue on March 8, 2024, organised by the girls can scan collective (founded by previous students of the Faculty of Architecture at BME) in collaboration with the BME Architecture College for Advanced Studies, the Pro Progressio Foundation, and EELISA, also underscored the importance of gender equality. The initiative’s aim was to celebrate the work of women engineers and scientists, and raise awareness of the absence of public statues commemorating women's careers.

In 2022, with the support of the Rector's Office, the BME Talent Support Council initiated the "Back to Science!" scheme, aimed at providing financial assistance and professional guidance to BME lecturers who are raising young children and who apply successfully. The inaugural year saw the participation of five recipients, resulting in the publication of a total of 10 Q1-quality papers and several other academic publications. Building on the success of the first year, the 2023 cycle of the programme has been extended and has attracted many more applicants: 12 grantees are currently involved the programme and, although the one-year cycle is not yet complete, around half a dozen articles have already been accepted or published, along with a monograph and several other publications. Submissions for the 2024 cycle have recently closed, and the jury is currently in the process of evaluating the applications.

2023 also saw progress in several other areas: the distribution of baby kits and the installation of baby changing facilities in buildings K and Q started, and the BME Family-friendly Community Space in building E was completed. The inauguration of this space took place on 12 September 2023, during the full-day employee appreciation day entitled “Changing Shifts – Work-Life Balance at BME”, in the presence of Ágnes Hornung, State Secretary responsible for Family Affairs. The main objective of the BME Family-friendly Community Space, easily accessible on the ground floor of Building E, is to provide a baby and child-friendly space for parents at BME who work part-time while raising young children. The goal is to allow them to have consultations, hold meetings, university classes or courses along with caring for their children, thus helping them to gradually return to the university and the world of work. The room is also open to university students and doctoral students with young children. The multifunctional space includes a baby-changing room, a breastfeeding room and a kitchenette for warming up formula or baby food.

In recognition of the efforts outlined above, BME was awarded the Family Friendly Workplace award and title in October 2023.


The term SDG stands for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by world leaders at the 2015 UN summit to set new directions for global development. In a series of articles called “Sustainable Tuesday(s”, starting today, we will take a look at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over 17 weeks and show what BME is doing to achieve them, within its own means. You can check out these development goals in a playful way with the help of boards placed at the entrances of the 3 busiest buildings (E, K, Q) on the BME campus. For more information on this topic, you can join the BME GreenHub Facebook group and visit BME’s main website to access our BME for Sustainability platform


KK (BME Committee on Sustainability)