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The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.
The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.
In the Social Institutions and Gender Index 2014 Edition , Austria was not classified in the SIGI due to lack of full dataset. It has lower discrimination in discriminatory family code and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here: http://www.genderindex.org/country/austria
In 1998 the Austrian Constitutional Act was amended to meet the demand of CEDAW (ratified in 1984) and now contains in Art 7 (2) the responsibility to consider and implement the principle of actual gender equality on all levels of policies and legal enactments.
Austria has enacted gender-sensitive legislation is in the matter of Domestic violence and sexual abuse. With the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2001, rape and severe sexual abuse of minors were made punishable by life imprisonment. It has dispensed with the need for lengthy court proceedings in a situation where the police can provide a report. This speeds up and makes it easier for women to seek remedies in enforcing their rights to remain in their home without the fear of harm or actual attack.
The Equal Treatment Law (est. 1998) governs equality legislation in employment in Austria. The Law also allows employers to adopt temporary positive discrimination in favour of women to bring a de facto equality in line with CEDAW which says that measures taken by state parties to obtain de facto equality shall not be discriminatory so long as they are temporary and taken to obtain equality.
Austria has still not addressed the considerable gender pay gap. In addition, a lack of affordable childcare places makes it difficult for women to return to work and this often means they take lower paid part time work with little or no career advancement. Statistics show a disproportionately higher rate of unemployment for women to men.
Positive measures to develop female access to and participation in higher education have been legislated in section 39 of the Federal Act Governing the Organisation of Universities (1993). Women make up 55 per cent of all students, and around 40 per cent of doctorates. There are a number of public scholarship programmes intended to encourage more women to pursue scientific study.
Women in Austria were given the Women's Women's Suffrage in 1918. The relative proportion of women members of government, at 22,2 % (2004), is currently somewhat lower than the 1999 percentage (25 %). However, in the Parliament the overall proportion of women MPs rose from 28 % (1999) to 33,9 % (2004)..
- 6th Country Report (Austria) to CEDAW (2004)
Austrian Development Cooperation
Advancing gender equality and empowering women are key to poverty reduction, economic growth and social development. Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) therefore designs all its programmes and projects to make a contribution to this issue.
Empowerment and gender equality
In practice, this means implementing measures to give girls and women a better education and fair access to resources such as land, income or capital and alleviate their excessive workload. The way to achieve these goals is to raise women’s participation in political decision-making, from the village to the national level.
Another major concern of Austrian Development Cooperation is preventing violence against women and girls. In South-Eastern Europe in particular, ADC is adamantly committed to combating trafficking in women and girls and also advocates giving women a say in safeguarding peace and human security. This is why implementing the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security is so important for ADC.
Gender mainstreaming as a strategy
Development cooperation aims to make a tangible contribution to remedying sexual discrimination, particularly of women and girls. Austrian Development Cooperation is committed to this goal. A so-called gender assessment is carried out for all proposed projects to ascertain whether they contribute to gender equality. Binding recommendations can be included in the project agreement, where necessary.
In five different fields of activity, ADC works towards gender equality and women’s empowerment:
- Policy dialogue: In cooperation with the partner countries, national priorities are framed based on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action.
- Cooperation with international organisations: In international bodies of the UN, OECD, OSCE, EU and the IFIs, ADC advocates gender equality and women’s empowerment and monitors the implementation of measures.
- Capacity building in government organisations: ADC supports exchange between ministers for women’s affairs, women parliamentarians and women’s commissioners in the partner countries and Austria. It advises the competent committees in drafting legal measures and supports the gender focal points in the ministries, parliamentary women’s clubs and gender equality commissions.
- Budget support: Through specific assistance to economic and social sectors, budget support can put the principles of gender equality into practice. Gender budgeting is an efficient instrument for applying the principle of gender equality in the allocation of public funds and advancing the participation of women in budget decisions. A new checklist helps asking crucial questions regarding gaps and opportunities for gender mainstreaming in the new aid modalities.
- Promotion of civil society organisations: ADC promotes feminist networks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Austria as well as gender mainstreaming in NGOs in partner countries.
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law, 2012 presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women’s economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.