Women at the University of Vienna

1878–2015

In 1897 women were first admitted to study at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Vienna. This was followed in 1900 by the Faculty of Medicine, 1919 the Faculty of Law, 1928 the Protestant theological Faculty and finally 1945 the Catholic theological Faculty. The first doctorate of a woman at the university in 1897 was that of the physician Gabriele Possanner von Ehrenthal, who had previously studied and graduated at the University of Zurich. After a letter to Emperor Franz Joseph in 1895, the Ministry of the Interior allowed her to nostrify her Swiss doctoral degree and thus to practice as a doctor.
The Romance philologist Elise Richter was the first woman to habilitate at the University of Vienna in 1907. In 1921, also as the first woman, she was awarded the title of associate professor. The first full professorship was awarded to the physicist Berta Karlik in 1956. The fact that the first full professor was only appointed almost half a century after a woman was first qualified as a professor is also due to the influence of National Socialism, which had interrupted the development of many female pioneers.

125 years after the admission of the first women to study at the University of Vienna, from March 8, 2022 on, the Gender Equality and Diversity unit of the University of Vienna presents the exhibition "(No) Walk in the Park - 125 Years of Women at the University of Vienna" in courtyard 1 of the Campus that shows that the history of women at the university is everything but a walk in the park.

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