Debates on women's representation in Austria. Or : The development of the pitfalls of a conservative gender regime
Title: Debates on women's representation in Austria. Or : The development of the pitfalls of a conservative gender regime
Series/Number: EUI LAW; 2015/32
Nearly 30 years after the first gender quota regulation was introduced in Austria and the establishment of gender equality legislation and institutions, the proportion of women in public offices rose within this time, but has stagnated roughly at 30% for the recent years. To understand this cleavage of the gender equality claim and the stagnation regarding women’s participation in decision-making processes, we will critically explore the gender quota policies in Austria from the perspective of substantive equality and gender democracy. Gender quota claims inherently entail the potential to deepen democracy and transforming societies towards more substantive justice and equality. To be able to analyse if and how gender quota regulations can become transformative measures, we would like to argue for a stronger theorization of the concept of gender regime to more deeply and precisely understand the workings and specifics of power relations within a society supporting gender inequalities as well as to assess possibilities of change. Taking Austria’s debates about women’s representation as an example, the paper will develop the argument that a conservative gender regime with elements fostering an corporate, breadwinner model and difference-narrative orientated topography will very unlikely implement gender quota regulations as transformative measures, but will try to integrate and shape them accordingly, unless the meaning of quota regulations are framed and understood to support the logic of the gender regime or an element of the gender regime in the process of changing. As a conclusion, the reverberations of Austria’s conservative gender regime will be assessed in regards to the implementation of its quota regulations, suggesting that transformative politics needs to include and consider the specific relational logic of the gender regime to transmit its transformative leverage.
Subject: Austria; Quota; Conservative gender regime; Social partnership
Type of Access: openAccess