When it comes to filling executive board positions with women, Austria continues to bring up the rear in Europe. In the companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, only 17 of 225 executive board positions (7.6 percent) are held by women. Only Luxembourg, at four percent, is worse positioned than Austria. A similar underrepresentation can be seen in the 200 companies with the highest turnover in the country, where the proportion of women managing directors is a low nine percent.
In the 20 companies of the ATX, only 6.8 percent were women on the executive boards at the beginning of January 2021. This means that Austria and Luxembourg (4.2 percent) bring up the rear in a European comparison and are well below the EU average (19.3 percent) and behind countries such as Germany (13.5) and Italy (13.1). This emerges from the women's management report of the Chamber of Labor (AK).
At the same time, this clearly shows that quotas are effective. The proportion of women on supervisory boards in quota-linked, listed companies has increased significantly from 22.4 to 32.3 percent since the introduction of a binding quota of at least 30 percent. Almost two thirds (63 percent) of the quota companies already meet the minimum proportion of 30 percent women on the supervisory board, 29.6 percent of them even reach a proportion of 40 percent and more. By contrast, the proportion of female supervisory board members in listed companies that are not subject to a quota is a comparatively low 18.3 percent in January 2021.
Other comparisons also make it clear that Austria has some catching up to do with regard to equal rights for women in the economy: In the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Austria only ranks 86th among 157 countries on the question of economic participation by women .
In order to break up the “patriarchy” in the executive board, the legislature should provide for a minimum participation of women for listed companies, the AK demands. On average, a company board consists of three people, and in future at least one of these positions should be occupied by a woman. Such a regulation would currently encompass 44 companies, of which only a quarter, i.e. eleven companies, have at least one woman on the executive board. As things stand, the proportion of women would be increased to 22.2 percent, three times the current level (7.6 percent), and there would be at least 33 top positions for women. If this board quota is applied to the 200 companies with the highest turnover in the country, there are 76 positions for women and an increase in the proportion of women from nine to 21.3 percent, the AK calculates.