As Junior Partner to the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the Twinning project “Promoting Gender Equality in Working Life” the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights organized a study visit for 11 Turkish civil servants from 24th to 28th October 2011. Comprising numerous meetings with Austrian experts the study visit enabled the participants to exchange intensively with their interlocutors on issues of gender equality in working life.
After a half-day introduction at the BIM the study group had appointments with colleagues from the Division II of the Federal Chancellery (Women and Gender Equality) and the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, thus gaining a good overview of the transposition of the relevant acquis communautaire in Austria. In addition, the delegation met with representatives of the Ombud for Equal Treatment, the Public Employment Service Vienna, the Federal Women’s Department of the Austrian Trade Union Federation, the Vienna Employment Promotion Fund and the Project Office Gender Mainstreaming within the Chief Executive Office of the City of Vienna in order to learn about the implementation of the legal regulations as well as targeted measures in promoting gender equality. Finally, the participants visited WUK Domino, a counselling project of the Workshop and Culture House for integrating youngsters into the labour market, as well as following a guided tour through the exhibition “Libbers, icons and other women” of the Vienna City Archives. The meeting at the City Archives offered not only a historic overview of the struggle for gender equality in Austria, but also enabled the Turkish participants to discuss the current situation with an expert from the Women’s Department of the City of Vienna.
To summarize, the study visit turned out as an inspiring experience for both sides, with the exchange between Turkish and Austrian experts significantly contributing to project’s objective of awareness raising and mutual learning. Next to the comprehensive presentations, enough room was left for discussions, thus enabling the participants to develop an understanding of the situation as well as current challenges in the area of gender equality in the Austrian labour market and to draw comparisons to their experiences in Turkey.