Pamela Rendi-Wagner
21.10.2021 „Rotes Foyer“ (51614161299) (cropped).jpg
Pamela Rendi-Wagner in October 2021
Chair of the Social Democratic Party
Assumed office
24 November 2018
Preceded byChristian Kern
Minister of Health and Women
In office
8 March 2017 – 18 December 2017
ChancellorChristian Kern
Preceded bySabine Oberhauser
Succeeded byBeate Hartinger-Klein
Member of the National Council
Assumed office
9 November 2017
Nominated byChristian Kern
AffiliationSocial Democratic Party
Personal details
Born
Joy Pamela Wagner

(1971-05-07) 7 May 1971 (age 51)
Vienna, Austria
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Michael Rendi
Children2
EducationUniversity of Vienna (MD)
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MSc)
WebsiteOfficial website

Pamela Rendi-Wagner (born Joy Pamela Wagner; 7 May 1971) is an Austrian physician, enivormentalist, feminist, trade unionist and politician serving as the chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) since November 2018. She is the first woman to lead the SPÖ.[1][2]

From 2011 to 2017 she was Director-General for Public Health in the Federal Ministry of Health. She served as Minister of Health and Women from March to December 2017. Rendi-Wagner was elected to the National Council for the SPÖ in the 2017 election, and became parliamentary leader in October 2018.[3][4] She was the SPÖ's lead candidate in the 2019 election.[5]

Early life

Joy Pamela Wagner was born in Vienna and grew up in the Favoriten district as the daughter of Wolfgang and Christine Wagner, née Tschabitscher. When her parents divorced, she stayed with her mother. She attended the GRG 12 Erlgasse in Meidling and graduated in 1989.[6] She then studied medicine at the University of Vienna and received her doctorate in 1996.[3]

From 1996 to 1997 she attended a course on Infection and Health in the Tropics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and graduated with a master's degree (MSc). In 1997, she obtained a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in the Royal College of Physicians.[3]

Health career

In 1998, Wagner returned to the University of Vienna. Between 1998 and 2002 she worked in the Department of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, between 2002 and 2003 in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the Kaiser Franz Josef Hospital, and from 2003 to 2007 again at the Medical University of Vienna in the Department of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine and Centre for Travel Medicine. As project leader, Wagner established a network for epidemiological surveillance of important infectious diseases. As part of her research, the recommended interval between tick vaccinations was raised from three to five years. In 2008, she was awarded the qualification of university lecturer in the fields of specific prophylaxis and tropical medicine at the Medical University of Vienna.[3] Subsequently, she worked internationally as a scientist in the fields of infection epidemiology, vaccine prevention and travel medicine.[7]

Between 2008 and 2011, Rendi-Wagner was a guest professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Between 2012 and 2017, she worked as a guest professor at the Centre for Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna. From 2011 to 2017, Rendi-Wagner took over Section III (Public Health and Medical Affairs) in the Ministry of Health and was chairwoman of the Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) and a member of the Health Commission.[3][8]

Political career

In 2012, Rendi-Wagner joined the Association of Social Democratic University Graduates, an organization affiliated with the SPÖ.[7]

Following the death of Minister for Health and Women Sabine Oberhauser in February 2017, Rendi-Wagner was appointed as her successor on 8 March, replacing interim minister Alois Stöger. She served in the government of Chancellor Christian Kern. Only shortly before her inauguration, she became a member of the SPÖ.[7][9] She became a member of the National Council in the election in October, but due to the change in government, she left the ministry on 18 December 2017. She declined to return as an official in the Ministry of Health. Thereafter, Rendi-Wagner became the SPÖ's spokeswoman for health. She joined the joint committee as well as the committees for health, environment, economy, and foreign affairs, becoming deputy chair of the health committee.[3]

After Kern announced his pending resignation as SPÖ chairman in September 2018, the party executive board designated Rendi-Wagner as his successor. She was confirmed at a party convention on 24 November with 97.8% of votes, becoming the first woman to lead the SPÖ in the party's history.[1] She stated that she wanted to define the party as modern, progressive, and cosmopolitan, pushing it to "have the courage to provide simple and understandable answers" and stand for equal opportunity and justice. She sought to provide a sharp contrast with the ÖVP and FPÖ without opposing the government dogmatically. She said that she was "not a fan of the left-right split", and was perceived as seeking to bring the party to the centre.[10][11]

On 28 May 2019, Rendi-Wagner was unanimously confirmed by the SPÖ executive as the party's top candidate for the 2019 federal election.[5] The party won 21.2% of votes, a loss of 5.7 percentage points, its worst ever result. Nonetheless, it remained the second largest party and largest opposition party.[12] In the new National Council, Rendi-Wagner became foreign policy spokeswoman for the SPÖ.[13] She also became chairwoman of the foreign affairs committee, and joined the standing subcommittee of the joint committee.[3]

In February 2020, the SPÖ announced a survey of party members to gauge their confidence in Rendi-Wagner and their opinion on key issues of social democracy.[14] The survey was completed on 2 April, though the review of results was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results were announced on 6 May: with a participation rate of 41.3%, Rendi-Wagner received 71.4% approval, and therefore announced that she would remain party leader. She presented a platform concept titled "New Solidarity for Austria", which seeks to the strengthen of the welfare state, with a focus on health and care, as well as investments in employment and tax justice.[15]

A January 2021 poll indicated that Rendi-Wagner was the most popular politician in Austria, with 36% public approval. This was higher than Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (35%) and health minister Rudolf Anschober (32%).[16]

During the late 2021 political crisis which saw the resignation and subsequent retirement of Sebastian Kurz, Rendi-Wagner accused the government of being "preoccupied with itself" during the pandemic, and void of any mandate to continue in office. She called for new elections to be held once the fourth wave had been suppressed.[17][18]

Personal life

Rendi-Wagner's mother was a kindergarten teacher, her father is professor of social psychology. In regular contacts her politically engaged father introduced her to political and feminist ideas. She has two half-brothers. Pamela Rendi-Wagner is married to Michael Rendi [de], the former Austrian ambassador to Israel and cabinet chief of former Chancellery minister Thomas Drozda (SPÖ), and has two daughters with him.[19]

References

  1. ^ a b "Austrian Social Democrats set to crown first woman leader". Politico. 23 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Rendi-Wagner is elected as SPÖ party leader". ORF (in German). 24 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Dr. Pamela Rendi-Wagner, MSc". National Council (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  4. ^ "SPÖ presidium designate Rendi-Wagner as party leader". Der Standard (in German). 22 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Rendi-Wagner is SPÖ lead candidate". ORF (in German). 28 May 2019.
  6. ^ "The school of Kurz and Rendi-Wagner: the cradle of elites, Erlgasse". Kurier (in German). 7 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Vaccination and tropical disease expert for the health department". Die Presse (in German). 7 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Biography of Minister Pamela Rendi-Wagner". Ministry of Women and Health (in German). Archived from the original on 29 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Minister Rendi-Wagner: It is unacceptable that women earn less". Der Standard (in German). 8 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Rendi-Wagner builds the SPÖ leadership". ORF (in German). 25 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Rendi-Wagner wants to move Austrian social democrats to the centre". Euractiv. 1 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Austria's far right loses ground as Sebastian Kurz wins landslide". Deutsche Welle. 30 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Rendi-Wagner becomes foreign policy spokeswoman of the SPÖ". Die Presse (in German). 12 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Rendi-Wagner asks SPÖ members a question of confidence". Der Standard (in German). 14 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Rendi-Wagner remains SPÖ leader". ORF (in German). 6 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Kurz & Anschober - surprising turn in the political barometer". Heute (in German). 25 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Rendi-Wagner: "New elections right, necessary, decent"". Heute (in German). 4 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Rendi-Wagner calls for pandemic control now and new elections in the spring". Der Standard (in German). 4 December 2021.
  19. ^ "Pamela Rendi-Wagner: Much more than the better half". Oberösterreichische Nachrichten (in German). 4 June 2011.