Austria promises to reduce gender pay gaps, encourage women candidates and board members (updated)

Vowing to tackle gender stereotypes, Austria will expand gender-sensitive vocational orientation and educational guidance, and encourage women in science and technology.

Ongoing implementation of the National Action Plan on Gender Equality in the Labour Market will address the high gender pay gap and strengthen income transparency. Other actions will aim to reconcile family work, for women and men, and extend child-care facilities.

Intensified mentoring and training programmes will encourage women to stand for elections on all political levels, while women’s roles in company management and board positions will also be promoted.

Austria will continue measures to prevent and protect women and girls from all forms of violence.

Internationally, it remains committed to the work of UN Women, and will back activities in the fields of women, peace and security, violence against women and access to justice.

Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Heinz Fischer said: “This new political impetus will reinvigorate and streamline our efforts to promote women’s and girls’ rights and to give them their rightful place in our global society.” [ Speech ]

Developments since Austria’s commitment

Since the Global Leaders’ Meeting in September 2015, Austria has continued its efforts to strengthen gender equality and women’s empowerment. The implementation of the National Action Plan on the Protection of Women against Violence, adopted in 2014, continues to be a national priority. A new regulation on sexual harassment entered into force in 2016, as well as a new provision on cyberbullying and the “Initiative against Online Violence”, to comprehensively fight hate speech, cyberbullying or non-consensual sexting.

Furthermore, the initiative of all-day schools to improve the reconciliation of work and family life for both women and men will be expanded, doubling the available places in all-day schools until 2025.

The reform of the childcare allowance system, which will enter into force in March 2017, also aims at more flexibility for parents as well as an increase in the number of fathers taking parental leave. Moreover, a new provision has entered into force in the beginning of 2016 to strengthen women’s labour market participation.

Additionally, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs regularly organizes exchanges between representatives of the public administration, parliamentarians and non-governmental organizations working in the area of women’s rights and gender equality.

To engage and inform young people about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a workshop is currently being prepared to train young people and to develop ideas on how to implement SDG 5 on gender equality in the specific contexts in which the participants live, work and study. [ Full update ]