1970: First Female Science Minister

Social Democrat Hertha Firnberg becomes Austria’s first science minister in 1970, and stays in office until 1983. Before her political career, she is a librarian (partly unpaid) and a research assistant at the Center for Economic and Cultural History (“Seminar für Wirtschafts- und Kulturgeschichte”) of the University of Vienna. She leaves the university in 1948 due to a lack of career opportunities and goes into politics. Her time as science minister is shaped by her attempt to open universities for everyone, and to democratise universities. She abolishes study fees and opens possibilities to study for people without a high school diploma (Matura). With the University Organisation Act 1975, she establishes the power of co-decision in universities for students and academics who are not professors.