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 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 Gender Equality and Diversity unit develops measures and programmes on the basis of the following 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)(2005)

According to the 2002 Universities Act (section 19, para. 6), every university has to enact a plan for the advancement of women. The objective of the University of Vienna’s Affirmative Action Plan (for the advancement of women)(in German), issued on 15 December 2005, is to increase the percentage of women in all organisational entities, at all hierarchy levels, and in all functions and activities at the University of Vienna in which women are under-represented, including temporary and permanent job and training situations, to a minimum of 40 % (section 2, para. 1). Goal of the measures for women’s advancement is to assure the same working conditions for women and men and to ensure that women and men have equal access to all means and opportunities (section 2, para. 2). The University has to apply the principles of gender mainstreaming in all decision-making processes (section 3, para. 2).

Austria

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.

European Union

European Convention on Human Rights(1950)

The European Convention on Human Rights (in German) of 1950 is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and contains the prohibition of discrimination in article 14:
"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a  national minority, property, birth or other status."

It has been in force in Austria since 1952.

 

Treaty of Amsterdam (1999)

The Treaty of Amsterdam amended Article 13 (in German) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now: Article 19 (in German) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), which expresses the common determination to proactively combat discrimination based on other factors (sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation)

 

 

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2000)

In addition to the general principle of equality in Article 20 guaranteeing equality before the law, the  Charta of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (in German) also includes specific prohibitions of discrimination in Articles 21 and 23. Article 21 contains a comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation

Article 23 confirms the equality between men and women and also establishes the right to support for the "under-represented sex".