Gender equality in the spotlight


Providing equal opportunities for women and men is already common practice on several levels at WU. The number of male and female WU students and graduates is roughly the same and WU’s initiatives promote female talent.

WU is committed to achieving gender parity in as many areas as possible. While the number of male students enrolled in 2021 slightly exceeded the number of female students (52%/ 48%), the proportion of bachelor's and master's degrees awarded to women and men was balanced. The number of female doctoral students is as high as 51%. In 2021, women accounted for 44% among academic staff and 68% among administrative staff, which is why WU is implementing steps to increase the number of women among senior faculty. Measures such as WU’s multidimensional performance assessment concept uLiKe have contributed to achieving this goal. It evaluates a person’s performance in the context of their biography and in relation to their ability to perform. In 2016, uLiKe was awarded the Diversitas Prize by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

The proportion of women at the associate professor level (40%) and the professor level (31%) reached new highs in 2021. Nevertheless, the gender "gap” is only slowly decreasing at higher levels of the hierarchy.

WU only employs more women than men in the personnel categories of “senior assistant professor” (54%) and “student employee” (54%). In the past few years, approximately 56% of tenure-track positions have been awarded to women. Tenure-track professors are initially offered a temporary position. In case of positive evaluation within the first six years of employment, the position is made permanent, changing the contractual relationship from “tenure-track professor” to “associate professor”. 

Despite the measures taken, the representation of women in top positions in Austria remains low.

Mentoring programs and women's networks

In 2018, WU launched the "Wise Women of WU" mentoring program, aimed at supporting ambitious female WU graduates at an early stage in their careers. Successful female managers acting as mentors support ten female graduates in advancing their careers. Experience has shown that it is more difficult for women to be perceived as qualified candidates as they lack relevant networks. The long-term goals of the program are to improve career opportunities for female graduates, increase the number of women in leadership positions, and promote female leaders as role models. Mentees and mentors exchange experiences in face-to-face meetings based on the principle of reciprocity. This is to ensure that both sides benefit from this knowledge and experience transfer. Mentors support their mentees in the matter of career development, provide insights into their strategies for success, and at the same time broaden their own perspectives through cross-generational and cross-hierarchical dialog. In 2017, WU founded the “Female Scholar Program”, a women's network that specifically supports careers in science. The focus is on providing networking opportunities between female junior researchers at WU and top international women researchers. WU is therefore committed to making female role models visible and pointing out possible career paths for women in academics. The network was founded by WU Professor Patricia Klarner, head of the WU Institute for Organization Design. Since 1999, the “Dr. Maria Schaumayer Habilitation Grant” has been awarded to female habilitation students. The scholarship supports female habilitation candidates by releasing them from general teaching and administrative duties, thus allowing them to work on their habilitation project without interruption.

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