Why this story matters:
It’s official -- Austria has a minister for women who does not support women.
In the tabloid "Krone", the ministers of the new government have announced that they will not back the "women’s petition."
It’s demands include: the elimination of income disparities, gender quotas in political institutions, a ban on gender stereotypes (especially in classrooms), a ban on sexist advertising and a promotion of diversity in presenting women in the media. The petition also advocates for a state guaranteed child support and the compatibility of childcare facilities with full-time parental leave. In addition, it lists measures to prevent violence against women and children, the financing of modern sex education, the full cost of pregnancy tests, contraceptives and the possibility of abortions in all public hospitals
This news comes at a time when support for women’s cause in Austria seems more crucial than ever. Since the last federal election, we have been witnessing a backlash in this field, with the reduction of free afternoon care and the closing down of kindergartens in Upper Austria.
However, female politicians in the government have firmly rejected the petition.
Since they disagree with some of it's ideological points (such as gender quotas in the parliament or reimbursing abortion) they prefer to fully oppose it, thus neglecting the interests of many women, including the underprivileged.
Once again, it will be up to Austrian civil society to form cross-party initiatives.
Details from the story:
- It has been confirmed that no female member of the government will sign the petition, including the Minister for Women, Juliane Bogner-Strauß, Economics Minister, Margarete Schramböck, and Minister for Sustainability, Elisabeth Köstinger, (all from ÖVP) as well as Social Affairs Minister, Beate Hartinger-Klein, and Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl (both from FPÖ).
- "You do not have to fully agree with the demands. By all means, sign if you only agree with five or six of them," Lena Jäger, one of the petition’s initiators, persuades. The Catholic Women's Movement, for example, supports the petition, despite being at odds with the demand for a fully reimbursed abortion.
- Men are explicitly invited to express their support. "It is not just a petition for women, but one for people,” Jäger concludes.