The status of women and gender equality in general

Progress with equality under the law
The situation of women in Switzerland has improved significantly since the 1970s, especially in terms of legislation. Milestones on the way to equality between women and men were the introduction of the right of women to vote and participate in elections nationally in 1971, and anchoring the principle of gender equality in the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1981. Article 8 paragraph 3 of the new Constitution states:
«Men and women shall have equal rights. The law shall ensure their equality, both in law and in practice, most particularly in the family, in education, and in the workplace. Men and women shall have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.»

Subsequent years saw the revision of various legislation such as the matrimonial law (1988), the penal code for sexual offences (1992) and the divorce law (2000). The gender equality law, in force since 1996, forbids discrimination in the workplace and includes provisions to facilitate equal opportunities at work.

Need for action in relation to equality in practice
When it comes to the equality of women and men in actual practice, there is still considerable need for action. Although stereotypical attitudes to gender roles are slowly beginning to weaken, women are still not equally represented in business, science, administration, politics and public affairs and they tend to hold far less influential positions than men. Conversely, women continue to perform the lion's share of unpaid work in the home and family. There is also a need here for legislative measures, among other things, to create the necessary foundations for equal opportunity of the sexes in both economic and social terms.

Publication by the FCWI

Further information