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The principle of equality is embedded in the Federal Constitutional Law under Article 7, which states that ‘all nationals are equal before the law’ and excludes any privileges based upon sex – among others. In 1998, an amendment to this Article provided the constitutional basis for the implementation of gender mainstreaming, by introducing the responsibility for all level of authorities (Federation, Länder and municipalities) to implement measures apt to achieve de-facto equality of men and women.

The earliest government action on GM dates back to a cabinet Decision in 2000, that established the Inter-ministerial Working Group for Gender Mainstreaming (IMAG GMB) for the purpose of implementing gender mainstreaming at the federal level, as a horizontal strategy that involves all Ministries. The latest Decision, dated 2011, focuses on establishing gender mainstreaming criteria among all ministries and departments as well as in legislation, funding programmes and public procurement.

Gender mainstreaming has been very successfully implemented in the areas of gender budgeting, a principle entrenched in Art. 13 of the Constitution since 2009, and gender-neutral language.