Austria has committed itself politically and legally to implementing the strategy of gender mainstreaming. 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.
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. In 2019, Equal Pay Day was February 29th, as this was the day that women earned as much as the men that worked until December 31st, 2018.
The situation in the field of art and culture is similar to other areas of society. One of the improvement measures is the gendered cultural report. Since 2001, the Department of Culture of the City of Vienna has published gendered data (“Frauenkunstbericht”) in a supplement to their annual financial report.
In terms of gender budgeting, the federal annual Arts and Culture 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. In 2019, a total of 1 399 subsidies, with a total amount of EUR 7.7 million, were awarded, with 699 projects by female artists with an amount of 3.82 million EUR and 700 projects by male artists with an amount of 3.87 million EUR. Of the 95 scholarships, 56 went to women (59%) and 39 to men (41%). The aim of equal access to transfer payments by the Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES thereby seems to have been successful. The general gender pay gap in Austria has shrunk from 35% to 25%, but it nevertheless remains enormous.
Gender-relations are documented even when support applications are rejected and the start-scholarship applications will be gendered. In art institutions, an effort is being made by increasing the quota of women in the management boards and presidiums. The Outstanding Artist Award for Women’s Culture is a measure at federal level. An expert mentoring programme by established female artists for up-and-coming female artists unfortunately has been stopped although the evaluation results have been excellent. Mentoring pairs (mentor and mentee) were established in the branches of video and media art, fine art, fashion, artistic photography, performance, music, performing arts, film and literature.
Organisations such as Fiftitu% and IG Kultur in particular are striving to reduce the gender-specific imbalance in the arts and cultural field. At a networking meeting of female 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 female creators of arts and culture.