Women in leadership positions
In Austria, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions compared to their share of the population. Thus, equal representation of women and men in management and decision-making positions in all areas of society – including politics, business, and science – is the long-term goal.
An important step to achieve balanced and equal representation of women and men in economic leadership positions in the private sector was the Act on Equality between Women and Men in Supervisory Boards (GFMA-G). The law was adopted in June 2017 to raise the share of women in leadership positions. Since 1 January 2018, the supervisory boards of publicly traded companies and companies with more than 1,000 employees must consist of at least 30 percent women and 30 percent men. If the required quota of female members of the supervisory board is not reached, the respective appointment becomes invalid due to the infringement of the gender quota.
The Austrian Chamber of Labour has evaluated the effects of this quota in its latest "Frauen.Management.Report 2022" (women.management.report, only in German). Since the introduction of the quota, the share of women on supervisory boards of companies who fall under the GFMA act have risen from 22.4 percent (January 2018) to 35.1 percent (January 2022).
Furthermore, a quota system in order to raise the percentage of women among state-nominated members of the supervisory boards of (at least 50 percent) state-owned companies to 40 percent over the course of the current legislative period (until 2024) was introduced. The quota is a voluntary commitment by the federal government and is directly addressed to the supervisory board members nominated by the federal government. The commitment of the Austrian Government is based on several decisions of the Ministerial Council since 2011. On 3 June 2020 the Austrian government committed to raise the percentage of women on supervisory boards of state-owned companies (at least 50 percent stake held by the federal government) to 40 percent.
Despite progress over the past years, women remain underrepresented in political decision-making positions on all levels. Austria does not have a legislated electoral quota. Some political parties have voluntary quotas/self-commitments for party lists. However, in July 2019, the law on funding of parliamentary groups was amended and a “bonus” for a higher proportion of women was introduced. If the share of female members in a parliamentary group (Klub) in the national parliament (Nationalrat or Bundesrat) exceeds 40 percent, the funding for the parliamentary group is increased by 3 percent.