Working Women, Protection of: For a long time the historically weak position of the individual employee in negotiating working conditions called for state intervention, especially for the benefit of women in the form of protective provisions in the Austrian labour law. Too long working hours and insufficient protection of women before and after giving birth, serious discrimination against women in pay as well as sexual harassment at the workplace have long been key problems in labour laws specifically affecting women. Only slowly did lawmakers pass legislation which helped rectify these conditions. The process of European integration has given further impetus to improvements in the labour situation of women. EU directives and decisions of the European Court of Justice have attempted to reduce the cases of gender-specific discrimination. Austrian labour law includes the following provisions governing work performed by women: the law governing night work for women, passed in 1969, which, with a few exceptions, prohibits Women, Night Work by; the Protection of Mothers Act of 1979, which prohibits pregnant or nursing mothers generally from working between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. as well as on Sundays and holidays; the Equal Rights Act of 1979, aimed at stopping every kind of gender-based discrimination by prohibiting any type of discriminination which cannot be justified on objective grounds. The law also made sexual harassment at the workplace illegal. In reality, however, this law has not been as effective as had been hoped, in particular with regard to equal pay for women.