Women's Issues have received increasing attention in western democratic societies since the late 1970s. Political action in favour of women's issues has taken different forms:
Autonomous action regarding women's issues has its roots, on the one hand, in the Women's Movement of the 19th century and, on the other, in that of the 1970s. Adherents deliberately stay aloof from established institutions such as the political parties. They give ample scope to women's needs and conceptions of the way in which they want to organise their personal relationships, their lives, working conditions and participation in political life, and favour actionist forms of political activity.
At the institutional level in respect of women's issues are seen as topics that have to be placed in the frame of reference of governmental structures. Institutional policy-making focuses on the inequality of women at work, in social matters and in politics as compared with male standards. In terms of day-to-day policy-making it is concerned with the achievement of equal rights (particularly by legislative action). In so doing it relies on existing institutions (including parliament and the government). Thus, Austria's political parties have set up separate women's organisations to promote women's causes. In addition, women's issues are also represented by special women's institutions within the administrative and political system (e.g. the Ministry for Womens' Issues or secretaries for women's issues at municipal level).
Literature#S. Rosenberger, Frauenpolitik in rot-schwarz-rot, 1992.