Gender Equality in the Catholic Church
Commissioned by the Austrian Pastoral Commission, the ifz has developed a comprehensive of decision-making basis for possible measures to establish equality in the Catholic Church.
Gender Equality in the Organizational Development of the Austrian Catholic Church
Learning Experiences and Potential Fields of Action
About the Research
How is it possible to do better justice to the needs and concerns of women in the context of the church? What measures need to be implemented to allow for the best possible development of women’s potentials in both professional and voluntary roles? What is needed for an inclusive atmosphere based on recognition, equal opportunities, and mutual support? In this project, the ifz explored such future-oriented questions on behalf of the Austrian Pastoral Commission.
The analysis of documents was at the core of this research project. Diocesan mission statements and statutes of women’s commissions provided an overview over structural efforts to reach equality within the Catholic Church. Selectively, we compared the insights to ongoing debates about diversity in the nonprofit sector and reflected on our findings against this background.
Building on these insights, the second part of the study focused on practical experiences of implementing relevant measures. For this purpose, we conducted about 20 qualitative interviews with experts from the church and from non-church sectors. Our aim was to find out more about the most effective approaches to work towards equality, as well as about the organizational conditions that work in favor of it. By selecting a broad range of interview partners, we made sure to listen to the perspectives of a diversity of voices and interests.
For the Pastoral Commission the results of the study serve as a basis for developing a joint plan of action for equality in cooperation with the Austrian Bishops’ Conference.