Political rights

Right of women to vote and participate in elections 1971
For almost 40 years, women have been able to have a say in Swiss politics. On 7 February 1971, enfranchised Swiss men voted in favour of granting women the right to vote and participate in elections on the national level. And in 1990 women finally achieved equal political rights in the last canton, Appenzell Innerrhoden.

Today there are virtually no discernible differences between the sexes in referendums, men and women participate more or less equally. A referendum is seldom decided as a result of different voting patterns by the sexes. The women's vote tends to be more oriented toward social, environmentally conscious and public service aspects.

The situation is rather different when it comes to elections, however. Since the introduction of voting rights for women in 1971, participation in elections by women has been lower than that of  men. The difference is particularly marked among the older generation, whereas there is little discernible difference in participation by younger voters.

Equal political participation remains a goal
Despite the slowly increasing representation of women in parliaments and governments at the federal, cantonal and municipal level, the under-representation of women in political office and bodies remains a fundamental deficit of Swiss democracy.

Relevant publications and position papers by the FCWI are available in German, French and, partly, in Italian.

Further information