Famous Austrian Women

    From Empress Elisabeth to film star and inventor Hedy Lamarr - these are Austria's most prominent women.

    • Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)

      Born Hedwig Kiesler in Vienna, Hedy Lamarr found fame as the "world's most beautiful woman" in 1940s Hollywood. As an inventor, she was involved in the development of a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes in WWII which later became the basis for Bluetooth technology.

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          Hedy Lamarr in the film "The Heavenly Body", Film Still, 1944
    • Maria Theresia (1717-1780)

      The only female regent of the Habsburg monarchy, Maria Theresia, ruled over Austria-Hungary for 40 years. She is known for introducing compulsory school attendance in Austria and abolishing torture.

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    • Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898)

      As the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth a.k.a. Sisi, reigned over Austria and helped bring about the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. She was also a tragic figure who never felt truly comfortable at court. In the 20th century, a film trilogy and a musical about her life made her a cult figure once again.

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          Sisi Museum Vienna
    • Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914)

      Suttner was a journalist, novelist, and pacifist, and, in 1905, became the first woman ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her novel Lay Down Your Arms! and her activism. Today, she is depicted on Austria’s 2-Euro coin.

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    • Emilie Flöge (1874-1952)

      A muse to famed artist Gustav Klimt, Emilie Flöge was a creator (and businesswoman) in her own right: she designed avant-garde, flowing dresses and ran a Vienna haute-couture fashion salon with her sisters.

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          Portrait of Emilie Flöge by Gustav Klimt / Wien Museum
    • Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000)

      First female student at the Kunstgewerbeschule, today’s University of Applied Arts Vienna. She would become a well-respected architect and known worldwide for her pioneering work of the Frankfurt Kirchen, a forerunner of today’s modern kitchen.

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          Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky on her 95th birthday in the MAK/Museum of Applied Arts - Inv. Nr. F/594

    More Famous Austrians

    • Bachmann, Ingeborg (1926 - 1973): The novelist, poet, and playwright has been recognized as one of post-1945's most important German writers.
    • Blau, Tina (1845 - 1916): Tina Blau was a pioneering Austrian atmospheric impressionist. She was the first woman to work en plein air. Her landscape paintings are among the most impressive of the later 19th century.
    • Bock, Ute (1942 - 2018): Tireless campaigner for human rights and refugees. Among others, she received the UNHCR Refugee Award for her efforts.
    • Dohnal, Johanna (1939 - 2010): Austria's first Minister for Women, who campaigned for gender equality throughout her life.
    • von Ebner-Eschenbach, Marie (1830 - 1916): Prominent writer famous for her psychological novels.
    • Valie Export (*1940): Avant-garde Austrian artist; best known for provocative public performances and expanded cinema work.
    • Hollein, Lili (*1972): Lilli Hollein is an expert on Austrian design, former director of the Vienna Design Week and currently the director of MAK (Museum of Applied Arts). 
    • Hoschek, Lena (*1981): Graz-born Lena Hoschek is one of the most demanded Austrian fashion designers. In her creations, she combines her love of her home country and her passion for traditional costumes, folk art, and nature with influences from all around the world. Her fashion is so extraordinary that even stars like Dita Von Teese, Sarah Jessica Parker or Lana Del Rey are fans of her creations.
    • Jelinek, Elfriede (*1946): Austrian playwright and novelist awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004.
    • Kauffmann, Angelika (1741 - 1807): During the transitional period between the Baroque and the Neo-classical Ages, the Austrian province of Vorarlberg produced a painter - Angelika Kauffmann - who was to achieve both fame and popularity far beyond the borders of her homeland.
    • Kogelnik, Kiki (1935 - 1997): Kiki Kogelnik was an Austrian painter, sculptor, and printmaker. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, moved to New York in 1961, and is considered Austria's most influential pop artist.
    • Lavant, Christine (1915 - 1973): Austrian poet and novelist. Lavant made her breakthrough with her collection of poems, "The Beggar's Bowl", in 1956.
    • Meitner, Lise (1878 - 1968): Austrian-Swedish physicist who contributed to the discoveries of the element protactinium and nuclear fission.
    • Pfeiffer, Ida (1797 - 1858): One of the world's first female travel writers who travelled around the world and as far as the jungle of Sumatra. Her travel diaries have been translated into seven languages.
    Women's museum in Hittisau / Vorarlberg, Austria

    Women in Austria

    • Number of Women
      4.52 million (50.8%)
    • Life expectancy
      84.2 years
    • Labour force participation
    • Women’s Suffrage
      since 1918

    Excursion Tip: Hittisau Women's Museum in Vorarlberg

    Located in Austria's westernmost province Vorarlberg, the "Frauenmuseum Hittisau" is Austria's first and only women's museum. It documents and showcases women's cultural contributions and histories and aims to raise awareness for gender roles and their malleability.

    Tours Led By Women

    The museum's temporary exhibitions shed light on feminist topics in the social, cultural, artistic, and architectural spheres, incorporating both regional and international perspectives. Past and current shows include Birth Culture, 100 Years of Women's Suffrage, and Women in the Alps. All guided tours are led by women of different ages and social backgrounds.

    Find out more & visit