Pamela Rendi-Wagner in January 2019
|Chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party|
|Assumed office |
24 November 2018
|Preceded by||Christian Kern|
|Leader of the Social Democratic Party in the National Council|
|Assumed office |
8 October 2018
|Preceded by||Christian Kern |
Andreas Schieder (acting)
|Minister of Health and Women|
8 March 2017 – 18 December 2017
|Preceded by||Sabine Oberhauser|
|Succeeded by||Beate Hartinger-Klein as Minister of Social Affairs|
|Member of the National Council|
|Assumed office |
9 November 2017
|Nominated by||Christian Kern|
|Affiliation||Social Democratic Party|
Joy Pamela Wagner
7 May 1971
|Political party||Social Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna (Dr) |
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Master)
Royal College of Physicians (MSc)
Pamela Rendi-Wagner (born 7 May 1971) is an Austrian physician and politician serving as the chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) since November 2018. She is the first woman to lead the SPÖ.
From March 2017 to December 2017 Rendi-Wagner was Minister of Health and Women. Since November 2017 she is a member of the National Council and since October 2018 she also is the parliamentary leader of her party there.
Rendi-Wagner was born Joy Pamela Wagner in Vienna and grew up in Vienna's 10th district, Favoriten as the daughter of Wolfgang and Christine Wagner, née Tschabitscher. After the divorce of her parents 1973 she lived with her paternal grandparents until her mother married again. She attended the GRG 12 Erlgasse in Meidling and graduated in 1989. She then studied medicine at the University of Vienna and received her doctorate in 1996.
Subsequently, she studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she graduated in 1996/1997 and received a master's degree in Infection and Health. In 1997, she obtained the Diploma of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Master of Science (MSc) at the Royal College of Physicians.
In 1998, Wagner returned to the University of Vienna and worked between 1998 and 2002 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, Rendi-Wagner has established a network for epidemiological surveillance of important infectious diseases. As part of her research, the recommended interval for tick vaccinations has also been 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. Subsequently, she worked internationally as a scientist in the fields of infection epidemiology, vaccine prevention and travel medicine.
Between 2008 and 2011, 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.
In 2012, Rendi-Wagner joined the Association of Social Democratic University Graduates, an organization affiliated with the SPÖ.
In succession of deceased Sabine Oberhauser and interim head of the ministry Alois Stöger, she was appointed Minister of Health and Women on 8 March 2017 by President Van der Bellen, serving in the government of Chancellor Christian Kern. Only shortly before her inauguration, she became a member of the SPÖ. With the change of government after the National Council elections in 2017, she dropped out of the government on 18 December 2017. She did not make use of her right to return as an official to the Ministry of Health. Since then, she has been a Member of the National Council and is her party's spokeswoman for health. In parliament, she has serves as a member of the Committee on Health (since 2018) and the Committee on Foreign Affairs (since 2019).
After Kern announced to stand as the SPÖ's leading candidate for the European elections in May 2019 and to resign as party chairman in November 2018, the party executive board designated Rendi-Wagner as Kern's successor on 22 September 2018. At a convention on 24 November, she was elected the first woman to head the SPÖ in the party's history.
On 28 May 2019, Rendi-Wagner was unanimously confirmed by the SPÖ executive as the party's top candidate for the 2019 National Council election. The party won 21.2%, a loss of 5.7 percentage points, its worst ever result. Nonetheless, it remained the second largest party, and largest opposition party.
In February 2020, the SPÖ announced a survey of party members, gauging their confidence on Rendi-Wagner as leader and their opinion on key issues of social democracy. The survey was completed on 2 April, but the review of results was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria. 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.
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 the former Austrian ambassador to Israel and cabinet chief of former Chancellery minister Thomas Drozda (SPÖ), Michael Rendi, and has two daughters with him.