Monika Mühlwert
Monika Mühlwert

Political Development

Party Affiliation

Profession/ Current priorities

Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments




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[ European Commission, DG V ]

© Jan 2001

European Database: Women in Decision-Making

Monika Mühlwert

Political Development

1. What made you decide to go into politics?
I have always been very interested in politics, When my youngest child was two years old, Mr. Rainer Pavkowitz who was at the time the FP Chairman in Vienna asked to work with him for the FP (Freiheitliche Partei sterreichs). I started my political career as a vice chairperson in a district of Vienna.

2. Do/did you have a role model?
Mr. Rainer Pavkovitz, the former Chairman of the FP Vienna.

3. Does political involvement or policy making have a tradition in your family?
Not in my family, but my husband's family is very interested in politics. The great grandfather of my husband was "Reichratsabgeordneter" (National Parliament). I see myself as a women with much concern for politics.

4. Have you been engaged in political grassroots activities before your involvement in party politics - e.g. in a citizens' rights, parents or other initiatives? What were important experiences you made?
No.

5. Where there disruptions in your political career path and why?
No, my career was permanent and very smooth.

6. Where there breaks in your biography that have/had an impact on your political career?
Yes once, I refused - because of private troubles - to run as a candidate for elections to the National Assembly.

7. Did your objectives change during your political career?
My political live started with themes focusing on women and social affairs. These issues are still very important to me. Meanwhile I have broadened my thematic activities which include now environmental protection and education policy.

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Party Affiliation

1. What was your motivation to join a political party?
I have been a friend to Rainer Pavkowitz, my whole circle of friends are very closely related to the FP. I came naturally to join the FP in 1973.

2. Does your party have an equal opportunities regulation?
No, in my opinion this is quite unnecessary. Hard working women don't have any problems to make it even to the top. In my party we have different criteria for political careers - qualifications, communication skills, experience with grass roots politics.

3. Which function/offices did you hold in your party at the beginning? How long after your joining the party was that? How did you get into running for an office?
As already mentioned in1987 I became Vice Chairman of a district in Vienna, and in the same year I was elected a member of a district council in Vienna. Since 1996 I am a member of the Upper House (Bundesrat). Since 1997 I am also member of the Board of Trustees of FP Vienna.

4. Did you have mentors within your party?
Rainer Pavkowitz, former Chairman of the FP Vienna, Helene Patik Pabl who is a member of the National Assembly. I have many mentors within the party.

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Profession/ Current priorities

1. How does your profession correspond with your political work?
I am a sales clerk. But the most useful competencies I am now using as a politician I have acquired as a housewife - management and organisation skills, communication, patience, empathy.

2. What kind of qualifications do you have?
As I said I am a sales clerk. My husband and I owned a computer company.

3. Are you linking both your professional and your political career?
Not my experience in sales, but my tasks as a housewife.

4. In which areas do you see your special competencies?
Persistence and the ability to work hard are certainly among my personal qualities. I am very talented for collecting information, networking, I am always eager to learn and I have to be since I don't have a team or an office to support me.

5. What are your political priorities?
Family and women's issues. The right of self determination for women. It is the task of politicians to create the right framework, to embark on gender mainstreaming.

6. Main fields of action?
Education, women, social affairs and environmental protection.

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Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments

1. Which objectives would you like to achieve through your political work?
I would like to improve environmental and education policy, achieve a reasonable programme to help families. I feel that concerning the last issue there are very controversial opinions, there is a kind of polarisation, and this is dangerous for the process. The FP wants to help mothers to reconcile family and working life and give them a chance to choose between family and career. At the moment, women who decide to be entirely house wives and mothers are being discriminated.

2. Did your objective change during your political career?
My objectives are always the same.

3. Do equal opportunities strategies in your opinion have an impact in your country in the promotion of women in decision-making- please specify?
I don't agree with the belief that quota are real good equal opportunity strategies. The existing law of equal treatment for women and men has enough impact to promote women in decision making. But women are not being partisan for other women. They don't go public, if they are not treated on an equal footing and - for instance - do not have access to same jobs as men if they have the same qualifications. But the same goes for men.

4. Did you benefit from these strategies? How do you judge them?
No, I did not need that.

5. Do you see direct or indirect discrimination in conventional policy-making? What is it that keeps women from committing themselves to politics?
I have only heard about it, but actually never seen any discrimination. I thinks that men can also be discriminated against.

6. What are the major obstacles that women need to overcome?
Women have to develop political interests. They have got to break through in a man's world, to get influence, but not to get power. They want to be creative, to keep to the facts and they often don't have a career plan.

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