Vienna Women’s Barometer 2010

Vienna Women’s Barometer 2010

Traditional household chores such as doing the laundry, ironing or cooking are still predominantly a women’s domain – regardless if the women are working or not. These findings are based on the latest Women’s Barometer of the Institute for Social Research and Consulting (SORA) presented by executive city councillor for women’s issues Sandra Frauenberger in a news conference in early March.

„Women have won for themselves many rights, but even 100 years after the 1st International Women’s Day there is still no genuine equality“, stated the executive city councillor in view of these results. „We better dig out the old concept of the 50/50 split and put it right at the top of our agenda“, said Frauenberger. According to her, the problem was that „everybody knows the 50/50 rule, but hardly anyone applies it.“ The city councillor for women’s issues therefore announced an “awareness-raising campaign to revive the 50/50 split“ for the year 2012.
„50/50 split at the top of the agenda“
The fact that women are still doing the overwhelming part of unpaid work (e.g. domestic chores and child-raising) has far-reaching social consequences. „While women are working for the family, men make a career“, stated Frauenberger. The unfair distribution of work for the family is one of the reasons of the wide income gap between women and men. „The question who changes the baby’s diaper is not a private but a highly political issue.“

Not only the income gap but also the dwindling share of women on managing and supervisory boards is a depressing evidence of the inequality between women and men. According to the Chamber of Labour, only 4 per cent of the leading Austrian enterprises have female managing board members. „And apparently also supervisory board positions are only accessible to those wearing a tie“, commented Vienna’s executive city councillor for women’s issues. She demanded that the time of gentle coaxing had to come to an end. „One day the fun is over“. As Vienna’s executive city councillor for women’s issues explained, there was no alternative to introducing a women’s quota – a measure seriously considered by the EU. Therefore the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and the Greens submitted a joint proposal for a resolution to the Municipal Council of Vienna demanding a mandatory women’s quota of 40 per cent for Austrian supervisory and managing boards. „Probably, this women’s quota does not have the best image but it is effective“, stated Frauenberger. The new approach of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) concerning this issue was „the best present on the 100th International Women’s Day“.


„Everybody knows the 50/50 rule, but hardly anyone applies it.“

Women do the laundry, iron and cook

68 per cent of the interviewees living in a partnership stated to do the laundry and the ironing mostly on their own. 23 per cent do these domestic chores together with their partner, but merely 3 per cent (!) of the women answered that the laundry was done predominantly by their partner. Only 2 per cent of the women surveyed were relieved of the chores from „tidying up and cleaning the home“ by their partners. 43 per cent of the women clean themselves most of the time; another 43 per cent were joined by their partner. Relevant influencing variables are age and education. Women who did not take their A-levels are – to a much greater extent – solely responsible for cooking (63 per cent vs. 44 per cent), tidying up (46 per cent vs. 37 per cent) and doing the laundry (73 per cent vs. 50 per cent) than women who completed higher secondary education.

Work and family – no problem?

The fact whether a woman is working or not has only very little influence on how housework is shared by the partners. With regard to most domestic chores, the difference between working and economically inactive women is insignificant, ranging between 1.5 and 5 per cent.

Child care in the morning and afternoon is also a women’s domain. In the mornings 70 per cent of the children younger than six years are cared for in crèches or nurseries; mothers (35 per cent) and grandmothers (12 per cent) rank second and third. In the afternoon children below the age of 14 years are looked after mainly by their mother (53 per cent), institutions offering afternoon childcare (24 per cent at school, 22 per cent in nurseries) as well as by their grandmothers (19 per cent).

Based on the findings of the survey, the distribution of domestic chores between the partners changes drastically to the detriment of women after the birth of a child. „This means that the traditional role models and gender role distribution start to dominate again as soon as a baby is born – even among emancipated women“, said Frauenberger. A similar patter can be observed with regard to employment. Only one third of the women with small children stated to work the same number of hours as their partners, while 62 per cent of them did so before giving birth.

Real equality only in education

Focus groups discussing role models, equal rights and women’s issues also participated in the Women’s Barometer. In the opinion of the majority of women, education is the only sphere in which full equality has been achieved in Austria. As far as all other areas (work, domestic chores, labour market reintegration and reconciliation of working and family lives) are concerned, women think that gender equality has been realised only partially and describe the pay gap as the biggest problem area. In this sphere women perceive the most significant inequality between women and men.

Projects promoting gender equality in Vienna

In the light of the amendment to the Federal Equal Treatment Act and the envisaged new rules regarding income transparency, Vienna’s executive city councillor for women’s issues decided to ensure more transparency within her sphere of responsibility. In line with the concept of a “self-imposed obligation”, preparations are made to disclose the wages of the 65,000 staff members of the City of Vienna (based on anonymised data). „To ensure income transparency means to make discrimination visible! We can fight discrimination only when we see it clearly. Therefore income transparency is a vital step in the right direction“, emphasised the executive city councillor for women’s issues.

Public contracts increasingly linked to women’s support schemes

Some months ago, the City of Vienna launched a large-scale project at the interface between women’s and economic policies. The existence of women’s support schemes in enterprises has been made a prerequisite for awarding public services contracts. Consequently, enterprises hoping to be awarded contracts of the City of Vienna have to agree to take internal measures promoting women.
Women’s demonstration on 19 March

On 19 March 1911, 20,000 women demonstrated for their rights on Vienna’s Ringstraße. 100 years later, Plattform 20000frauen will commemorate this historic date by demonstrating for the immediate realisation of women’s demands that have not yet been met. „As the executive city councillor for women’s issues, I fully support the demands of the independent platform. I therefore call on all Viennese women to march together with thousands of other demonstrators from all over Austria from Schwarzenbergplatz to Parliament on 19 March 2011“, stated Vienna’s executive city councillor for women’s issues (for more details see:

A majority of women thinks that education is the only sphere in which full equality has been achieved. They describe the pay gap as the biggest problem area with the most significant inequality between women and men