20 years ago, Vienna started to organise events and activities under the umbrella of the international ‘Bring your daughter to work Day’ initiative. “Since then, we have been encouraging girls and giving them an insight into exciting professions,” says Kathrin Gaál, Deputy Mayor and Executive City Councillor for Women’s Issues and the Daughter’s Day initiator.
Over the past 20 years, around 50,000 girls visited numerous Viennese companies on the last Thursday of April. The initiative has significantly grown since its first edition back in 2002 when only one company and around 200 girls participated. This year 190 companies will open their doors on the 21st Vienna Daughters’ Day. Such a number is possible thanks to the collaboration with the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, which promotes the action to local companies.
The first Daughter’s Day participants have been inspired by it and it has helped them choose a career. They dared to take the leap from Daughters’ Day to their desired profession or training. “The promotion of girls has always been the focus of our work as the municipal department for women. We want to empower girls to go their own way,” says Marion Gebhart, Director of the Women´s Department of Vienna.
“For 20 years, the Vienna Daughters’ Day has been encouraging girls and giving them an insight into exciting professions. Some young people still choose professions based on preconceived, outdated role models. This is precisely why the Vienna Daughters’ Day is so important. Girls can discover interesting jobs in areas such as technology, digitalisation, natural sciences and crafts. This makes it even more important to start with the youngest. This year, with Daughter’s Day Kids, we are already showing girls of primary school age the diversity of professions,” says Gaál.
After two years of online activities, Daughters’ Day returns as a live event open to all girls aged between 11 and 16 years in Vienna. As Gaál explained, this year, the initiative is extended to primary school girls for the first time with the Daughters’ Day Kids. To ensure wide participation, the Directorate of Education for Vienna declares Daughters’ Day a school event, which means that participating girls are excused from school.
Women in technology doubled, female managers tripled
The city has recorded a clear trend since Daughter’s Day was introduced: the share of female students in the field of technology has doubled in the last 20 years – even though male students still dominate.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of women in management positions: The annual Women Management Report of the Austrian Chamber of Labour in Vienna shows that the proportion of women holding management positions in the 200 companies with the highest turnover in Austria has increased by around two thirds since the early years of Daughter’s Day. Overall, however, only 8.9% of managers are female in 2022.
Getting to equality and the eradication of the gender gap is a slow process, but cities like Vienna work for a more equal future. “The message of Vienna Daughters’ Day is: ‘Be brave – you can do whatever you set your mind to!’”, says Gaál.