Legal framework

Diversity and equality management are supported by its basis in national and international law and have been increasingly promoted in recent years because of this basis – including at universities.

The following units responsible for the advancement of women, equality and gender research are enshrined in the Organisation Plan of the University of Vienna: The Human Resources and Gender Equality service unit is responsible for coordinating activities relating to gender equality and the advancement of women (specified under section 19, para. 1, line 5 of the Organisation Plan).

The Culture and Equality unit develops measures and programmes on the basis of the following national legal documents:

University of Vienna

2002 Universities Act

The 2002 Universities Act (in German) (section 2, para. 9; section 3, para. 9; section 41) lists the equality of men and women as well as the advancement of women as guiding principles and tasks of the Austrian universities. This corresponds to the principle of gender mainstreaming to which the Federal Government of Austria has committed itself in 2000. The 2002 Universities Act commits the Austrian universities to make efforts to achieve a balanced representation of men and women at work in all areas of university activities (section 41). This social obligation forms an integral part of the performance agreements concluded between the individual universities and the Federal Government for periods of three years (section 13, para. 2d of the Universities Act).  

The objective of this endeavour is, above all, the implementation of an affirmative action plan for the advancement of women at the University of Vienna.

The 2002 Universities Act also stipulates that the federal equal opportunities act (Bundes-Gleichbehandlungsgesetz) still applies to university members.


Affirmative Action Plan (for the advancement of women) and Equality Plan (2019)

According to the 2002 Universities Act (section 19, para. 6), every university has to enact a plan for the advancement of women. For the University of Vienna, this plan was first issued in 2005. As of May 13, 2019 a new Affirmative Action Plan (for the advancement of women) and Equality Plan (in German) was issued. This new plan goes beyond legal necessities and doesn't just aim to achieve equal opportunities for men and women, but also for disabled and/or chronically ill people. Furthermore, it sets out to secure the respectful treatment of trans, inter and non-binary people.  


Disability employment act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz)(1970)

Taking into account special exceptions, the disability employment act (in German) states the following: All employers who employ 25 or more people (section 4, para. 1) are obliged to hire at least one so-called favoured disabled person (section 2) for every 25 employees. In the disability employment act, 'favoured disabled persons' are "(…) Austrian citizens with a degree of disability of at least 50 per cent" (section 2). 

The disability employment act also expressly stipulates the principle of non-discrimination. This concerns, among other things, areas such as establishing an employment relationship, setting remuneration, social benefits, initial and further education and retraining, promotion, etc. (section 7b).


Federal equal opportunities act (Bundes-Gleichbehandlungsgesetz)(1993)

The Austrian federal equal opportunities act (in German) (B-GIBG, No. 100/1993 as amended) came into force in 1993 and had to be amended several times to be further harmonised with EU legislation. In 2004, there was a fundamental amendment which stipulated that no one must suffer direct or indirect discrimination in relation to an employment or educational relationship on the grounds of gender, ethnic affiliation, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation. 

Sexual harassment is deemed to be discrimination on the grounds of gender. The new offence of "gender-related harassment" was added to the B-GlBG act. This is harassment that takes place on the basis of gender but is not sexual in nature. The latest amendment (Federal Law Gazette No. 97/2008) makes clear that the B-GlBG act also applies to fixed-term employment and employees serving a probationary period.


Federal disability equality act (Bundes-Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz)(2005)

The goal of the federal disability equality act (in German) is to eliminate or prevent the discrimination of people with disabilities and thus to provide for the equal participation of people with disabilities in society and to enable self-determined living (section 1). 'Disability' is defined by the federal disability equality act as follows : "(…) the effects of a non-temporary physical, mental or psychological impairment or an impairment of the sensory functions which is capable of making participation in the everyday life of society difficult" (section 3). The ban on discrimination (section 4) prohibits the "direct or indirect" discrimination of people with disabilities.