Gender mainstreaming happens in a town

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Diploma winner

The City of Graz has a long tradition in supporting women’s issues. Austria’s second largest city had already created the position of an Independent Women’s Representative in 1986, which was followed by a cross-party Women’s Board, combining all women’s initiatives and organisations of Graz. The City of Graz is aware of its responsibility in implementing equal opportunities for women and men at all levels and in all socio-political areas. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the City of Graz decided in 2001 to start the process of implementing Gender Mainstreaming (hereafter GM), thus acknowledging the need to support gender equality: all sectors of administration and all political fields must become more gender-sensitive.

Taking all the City’s efforts concerning women’s affairs into consideration and also acknowledging that one way to establish equality between the sexes will be to continue promoting positive actions for women, the City had to admit that a strategically based approach for all products and services as well as for internal procedures and processes will prove to be more successful in the long term. The City of Graz thus also adheres to legal necessities, such as the Austrian Federal Constitution, and the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Council Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment of men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services.

From the beginning it was evident that the implementation of GM can only be realised when: there is a clear political declaration towards the implementation of GM; resources are provided; gender expertise is built up; a gender-sensitive based point of view is achieved in all sectors of administration and policy; and the implementation follows a structured procedure and strategic considerations. One of the key differences between active promotion of women at all levels and GM is that the former is a bottom-up-strategy with its historic roots in feminism, whereas the latter is a top-down-strategy based on European primary law regulations. The head of public administration, Mag. Martin Haidvogl is also a nominated Gender Mainstreaming Coordinator of the City. The implementation process has two main objectives: it was agreed that GM should be implemented on an internal level (within the administration) as well as on an external level (concerning all products and services of the City).

The strategic approach can be easily transferred to other organisations and can also easily be adapted to individual organisations´ needs. The City of Graz winning the Austrian Award for Innovation in Public Administration in 2008 shows that Graz serves as a best-practice model, assuring other organisations that the implementation is possible, achievable and even demonstrates what steps should be taken. In sum, a clear mandate, strategic planning and resources are needed to achieve a status of sustainability and irreversibility.

Award info
Award category: leadership and change
Award type: diploma
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity: e-government
Keywords: Strategic approach, gender equality, public service communal level
Short English description: The City of Graz is aware of its responsibility in implementing equal opportunities for women and men at all levels and in all socio-political areas
Further information
Organisation: City of Graz
Other applicants:
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved:
Country: Austria
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

Gender mainstreaming happens in a town (47.071081, 15.4378185)
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