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Käthe Leichter Award

Käthe Leichter (1895-1942)

Käthe Leichter was the first spokesperson for women’s issues at the Chamber of Labour. She advanced the interests of women in both her academic and political work and was one of the most interesting and outstanding women on the political scene of the 1st Republic. Her socio-political surveys, inter alia of the situation of housemaids and female home and industrial workers, and her Handbook of Women’s Labour in Austria, are among the most important women-related publications of the inter-war period. Käthe Leichter’s surveys and analyses drew their novelty value both from the fact that they were dedicated to the situation of women, and from the fact that they were based on the experience of women and were authored and published by women.

In 1938, Käthe Leichter was arrested by the Gestapo and in January 1940 she was deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. In 1942, Käthe Leichter was liquidated at the Bernburg euthanasia killing site.

History of the Käthe Leichter Award

The Käthe Leichter Award has been conferred every year since 1991. Originally

  • one Käthe Leichter Award / Austrian State Award for Research on the History of Women in the Labour Movement was endowed by the Minister for Women’s Issues and the Minister for Social Affairs, and
  • one Käthe Leichter Award for Research on the History of Women in the Labour Movement was endowed by the Austrian National Bank and the Chamber of Labour. After an interruption of four years, presentation of the Käthe Leichter State Award for Women’s and Gender Studies was resumed in 2005.
  • The Käthe Leichter Award was instituted thanks to an initiative of university lecturer Dr. Steiner with the support of the then Minister for Women’s Issues Johanna Dohnal.

Information on the Käthe Leichter State Award

The Käthe Leichter Award is intended to keep alive the memory of the economist Käthe Leichter.

The Käthe Leichter State Award for Women’s and Gender Studies and for Equality in the World of Work is conferred for outstanding achievements in the pursuit of women’s and gender studies in the social sciences, the humanities and the cultural sciences as well as for outstanding achievements in support of the women’s movement and the achievement of gender equality.

The Käthe Leichter State Award for Women’s and Gender Studies and for Equality in the World of Work is endowed with 5,000 euro and is conferred by the cabinet member responsible for women’s issues.

In addition to the Käthe Leichter State Award conferred by the Federal Chancellery, Käthe Leichter Awards are conferred

  • by the cabinet member responsible for education (2,500 euro),
  • by the cabinet member responsible for labour (2,500 euro),
  • in turn by the cabinet member responsible for economics and by the cabinet member for science and research (2,500 euro),
  • by the Chamber of Labour Vienna (2,500 euro) and
  • by the Austrian National Bank (2,500 euro).

The award winners are nominated and selected by an independent jury - a fact that excludes self-marketing.

The jury is composed of personalities from university and non-university science and research entities in various disciplines who are recognised for their expertise in women’s and gender studies, and of leading figures in the bodies representing labour interests as well as other sponsors.

Further information (in German)

Käthe Leichter Awardees: Käthe-Leichter-Preis