The Austrian gender equality petition (Frauen*Volksbegehren 2.0) has been initiated by committed individuals in early 2017. It consists of regional groups throughout Austria and is not affiliated to a particular political party.
The petition’s list of nine demands contains a mixture of socio-economic and political requests such as a gradual shortening of the working week to 30 hours and a 50-percent quota for women (and men) at all levels in business, politics and public life.
Further demands encompass the legal entitlement to childcare from the age of one and the expansion of specialized facilities for women and children affected by domestic violence.
During February and March 2018, the petition hit the 100.000 signatures target that enabled it to being discussed within the Austrian parliament.
After an intense online and offline campaign – organized and carried out by numerous active and enthusiastic private citizens – the registration week for the gender equality petition took place from October 1 to 8, 2018 throughout Austria. The organizers even carried out a symbolic registration procedure for non-Austrian citizens (so-called “Pass Egal Aktion”) who were – for legal reasons – not able to sign the petition.
The petition acquired 481.959 votes and ranks 13 of all petitions ever filed in Austria.
On 11 December 2018, the demands of the gender equality were debated during a plenary meeting of the Austrian parliament. No member of the Austrian government, not even the Federal Minister for Women, Families and Youth, Dr. Juliane Bogner-Strauß, was present at this meeting.
The team behind the Austrian gender equality petition is strongly committed to its objectives and values. We are aware of the fact that the registration week of the petition is over, but the parliamentary debate is still going on and we feel that we have initiated a broad public discussion on all gender-related issues in Austria. We are determined to carry on this discussion.
Despite Austria giving women the vote in 1918, passing an equal opportunities law in 1993, and despite a similar call-for-equality petition in 1997, Austria has stagnated and even regressed on gender equality. In June 2016, a Social Ministry study under Austria’s previous government determined that among all Austrian mayors only 7 percent were women.