Wouldn’t it be much more important that women choose other educational paths? So not literature and marketing, but rather controlling and technology?
Women have caught up massively in education, so poor qualifications are no longer an argument against equality. But as the minister responsible for research and technology, I have always advocated getting women to study technical and natural sciences. Incidentally, companies in which there is diversity are more successful.
What else does it take?
We have to talk about the value of work and ask ourselves: why are wages so low wherever there are many women employed? We also see that women’s career opportunities dwindle when they have children. 75 percent of all women with children under the age of 15 work part-time, and every third woman needs financial support from her partner. This then continues until they reach their pension, from which they cannot live at all.
Hasn’t the SPÖ been fooling around for a long time about the special situation of women in migrant milieus?
Of course, you have to look closely there too. It is mainly about education. The City of Vienna, for example, runs German courses especially for women.
Is there enough talk about women’s rights in the values courses for newcomers?
I hope so. We had a Secretary of State for Integration who is now Chancellor. And I’m very much into ethics teaching in schools.
Don’t the feminists sometimes make things a little easy for themselves by always declaring the old white man a great enemy?
There are more and more solidarity old white men! (laughs)
How high do you estimate the likelihood of a return of the grand coalition?
I don’t know, but two months ago I couldn’t have imagined the charged mood that is now prevalent in politics. If we can get on with vaccinations – hopefully sooner than we are now – then there will be a decade ahead of us in which we will have to rebuild the economy. The broader the political and social consensus, the more successful we will be.
You are already mentioned as a possible Minister of Justice in a turquoise-red government.
So, first of all, we now have more important things to do than speculate about positions. Second, social democracy is in opposition. And third, with eight years of government experience, I am probably one of the longest serving ministers of the Second Republic. I have committed myself to parliamentarianism and I believe that parliament is now playing an important role in the functioning of democracy and crisis management. I very much hope that the government and parliament will treat each other on an equal footing.
Has anything improved there?
Yes, in the last few weeks there has been the realization that the parties represented in parliament should also be involved and that other opinions should be heard. And we in Parliament have shown that we are capable of examining regulations within a few hours and even overnight. Incidentally, that also makes them better.
How do you get along with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz?
I have a very professional relationship with him; we also sat in the same federal government for a while.
What about your presidential candidacy in 2022?
The Federal President has not yet said whether he will run again. So it would be disrespectful to speculate about it. We still have a lot of time to discuss this question in detail.
And when does he show up?
Then I think a lot of the good tradition that we then don’t put up an opponent.