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Austria/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

Austria has committed itself politically and legally to implementing the strategy of gender mainstreaming. The Interministerial Gender Mainstreaming/Budgeting Working Group was set up by the Ministry for Women in order to implement this. Since 2009, gender budgeting has been anchored in the Austrian constitution and must be implemented in all departments. The government's arts and cultural supports have been constituted according to gender-budgeting criteria since 2007.  

Within administrative bodies, the former "equality officers" – civil servants responsible for gender-fairness issues – have been changed to "gender-mainstreaming officers". The policy of gender-mainstreaming is concerned with the reform of policy-processes rather than with a single gender-equality employment policy.

Moreover, the income gap between women and men is still high in Austria (on average women earn 25% less). In 2008, the international network BPW (Business and Professional Women) introduced the annual "Equal Pay Day"; for 2015 this day was calculated for 31 March, this was the day until which women had to work in order to earn as much as men,who had worked until 31 December of the previous year.

In 2010 a National Action Plan (NAP) for the equality of women and men on the labour market was implemented in order to develop concrete steps. The Ministry for Education and Women's Affairs provides a wage calculator (, which calculates the average wages and salaries related to a sector or occupational group. The aim is to improve fairness and transparency in relation to the wages of men and women.

There have been several studies that investigate the situation of women in art and culture, for example on gender budgeting, the symmetry of genders and women in cultural professions and the creative industries. The demands of various interest-group representatives for the improvement of the situation of women and equality with men in the cultural field can be found at

The situation in the field of art and culture is the same as in other areas of society. Improvement measures are the gendered cultural report: Since 2001, the Department of Culture of the City of Vienna has published gendered data in a supplement "Frauenkunstbericht" to their Annual Financial Report. In the sense of gender budgeting, since 2007 the federal annual Arts Report has identified the gender-specific distribution of scholarships, purchases and prizes, the gender-specific distribution according to branches and the gender-specific distribution of the commission and jury members of "Kunstaktion".

In 2013, a total of 1 367 subsidies, with a total amount of EUR 6.5 million, were awarded, with 646 projects by female artists (47%) - with an amount of 3.2 million EUR and 721 projects by male artists (53%) - with an amount of 3.3 million EUR. On average, the means added up to 4 881 EUR for women's and to 4 621 EUR for men's grants and scholarships.

Of the 95 scholarships, 60 went to women (63%) and 35 to men (37%). The aim of equal access to transfer payments by the Arts Department of the Federal Chancellery thereby seems almost to have been achieved.

Gender-relations are documented even when support applications are rejected and the start-scholarship applications and the film industry will in future be gendered. In art institutions an effort is being made to increase the quota of women in the management boards and presidiums. The "Outstanding Artist Award for Women's Culture"and the expert mentoring programme by female artists for artists, whose core idea is the transfer of expertise from experienced, established female artists to younger, up-and-coming artists are measures at federal level. As the evaluation results are excellent, the programme was continued and further developed. Mentoring pairs (mentor – mentee) were established in the branches of video and media art, fine art, fashion, artistic photography, performance, music, performing arts, film and literature (see:

Organisations such as "Fiftitu%" and "IG Kultur Vorarlberg" in particular are striving to reduce the gender-specific imbalance in the arts and cultural field: thus at a networking meeting of women creators of culture, a catalogue of measures was drawn up that demands the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the cultural field and the development of specific measures for women creators of arts and culture. 

Chapter published: 26-06-2018

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