Promoting women in the Austrian public service

Promoting women in national government departments

Women are currently under-represented in national government departments and other high-level national bodies. These departments and bodies are under a legal obligation to address this imbalance, and to remove existing barriers that women face within the civil service.

Women are described as under-represented within a given departmental sector if the proportion of women in the department/authority concerned is less than 50 per cent for specific grades and/or roles. Where women are under-represented, the institutions concerned must take action to address this situation by promoting and encouraging women in the workforce. Until this 50 per cent threshold is reached, women must be hired and promoted ahead of men who are equally well-qualified for the role. 

In order to ensure women are encouraged and promoted within the civil service, national government departments and high-level national agencies are required to publish Plans for Promoting Female Staff (Frauenförderungspläne). These plans must state what HR and professional development measures the department will take in order to address the under-representation of women, and set deadlines by which this action will be taken. Departments must also take action to remove existing barriers faced by female staff.

The plans must set out exactly how the department plans to address the under-representation of female staff. Measures may include, inter alia, raising the proportion of female staff by discriminating positively in favour of women (where they are qualified to the same level as male applicants), initiatives to encourage the promotion of female staff within the department, and taking action to make it easier to combine a career with family life.

Encouraging and promoting women at provincial and municipal level

A legal requirement to promote and encourage women also applies to public service bodies at provincial and municipal (Gemeinde) level. The individual provinces have each adopted their own state laws (such as the Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, Lower Austria's Equality Act) setting out specific action to be taken in order to address a lack of female representation.

Further links

Legal basis

Bundes-Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (B-GlBG)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 12 January 2023

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