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Success for new pilot project of expert mentoring by female artists for younger, up-and-coming artists.

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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 by 2013. The government's arts and cultural supports have been constituted according to gender-budgeting criteria since 2007.  

In addition, in recent years 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

After many debates in the past involving representatives from academia, business, administration, politics and NGOs, discussions with experts, and intensive negotiations with the social partners, in June 2010 the "National Action Plan for the Equality of Women and Men in the Labour Market" was presented, above all because women still receive 25% lower wages for the same work. It defines the government strategy up until 2013 and develops concrete steps for the next five years.

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.

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 annual Arts Report of the bm:ukk 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 2012, a total of 1 373 subsidies, with a total amount of EUR 5.6 million, were awarded, 645 projects by female artists (47%) with an amount of 2.6 million EUR and 728 projects by male artists (53%) with an amount of 2.97 million EUR. On average, the means added up to 4.098 EUR for women's and to 4.081 EUR for men's grants and scholarships.

Of the 90 start scholarships 51 went to women (57%) and 39 to men (43%). The aim of equal access to transfer payments by the Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture thereby seems almost to have been achieved. Apart from this, the government's Arts and Culture Report takes account of gender criteria, so the promotion of women in the field of art and culture can be described.

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. Since 2010 there has been a new EUR 8 000 support prize, the "Outstanding Artist Award for Women's Culture". In 2011 the bm:ukk started the pilot project of expert mentoring by female artists for artists, whose core idea is the transfer of expertise from experienced, established female artists to younger, up-and-coming artists. 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: 10-12-2013

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              Council of Europe/ERICarts, "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 15th edition", 2014 | ISSN 2222-7334