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100 years of Admitting Women to Study at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

One hundred years ago, women were at last allowed to study at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. 100 YEARS - SHE* CAME TO STAY, is a series of events which celebrates this centenary year and cautions that the struggle for equality is far from over.

The Academy was exceedingly reluctant to permit women to study and only yielded after intense pressure brought by activists such as the Association of Austrian Female Artists, (founded in 1911), and politicians at the Ministry for Culture and Education. Finally, in 1920, two whole years after the introduction of women’s suffrage in Austria, 14 female students were admitted. They made up only 5% of the 264 students at the Academy.

Twenty-seven years later, in 1947, Gerda Matejka-Felden became the first woman to be appointed professor at the Academy. Seventy-one years later, the Task Force for Equal Opportunity was established and has been working tirelessly ever since to defend and expand equality in applications, admissions and personnel issues. In 2011, the Academy became the first university in Austria to be led by a team of female rectors. Today, in 2021, women make up 66% of students, 60% of artistic and scientific staff, and 55% of professors.

By working to establish legal frameworks and operating agreements, the Academy continues to cement its commitment to pursuing non-binary and anti-discriminatory goals day by day. Objectives for educational justice focus on the struggle against discrimination, be it based on socio-economic background, age, ethnicity, migration, racialization, rejectionism, sexual orientations or religious confessions.

100 YEARS - SHE* CAME TO STAY , is a series of exhibitions, posters, talks, walks, performances and interventions which combine work on remembrance with addressing and redressing current conflicts in the continuing struggle for equality.

Come, join in, celebrate and stay with us!