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Issues of Gender Equality in Switzerland

By 2025, up to 340,000 jobs will remain vacant if we don’t take into consideration immigration. By 2030, this number could reach 800,000.

In Switzerland, despite the Federal Constitution preserving the principle of "equal pay for work of equal value" since 1981, women still earn 18 per cent less than their male counterparts.

Could the key to addressing the challenges of gender equality in Switzerland lie in offering women a more accessible and equitable journey within the workforce?

Most mothers return to work after 5 years, while 1 out of 3 will never return at all. Those who return after a family break work very low hours with an average of 36%. These figures demonstrate the significant loss of talent and productivity that is increasingly weighing on the Swiss labor market. Equalizing the workloads of women and men, based on egalitarian and flexible structures would be a fair approach to a rapid solution.

In June 2023, more than 300,000 women went on a strike to demand “Respect, more pay and more time!”

Women Solidarity Representing Equality

Alke Boessiger, UNI Global Union’s Deputy General Secretary, stated the following at the march in Lausanne:

“The massive turnout at the feminist strike on 14 June and the host of powerful workplace actions, show that women are tired of waiting for gender equality. Governments and employers must act now to level up the workplace – and we will stand with our member unions in Switzerland and around the world to demand respect, rights and equal pay for women.”

Adding to this concern is the incredible high price families must pay for childcare.  The dream of balancing work and family often hits a financial wall for mothers. The staggering cost of childcare for two children can devour nearly half of a middle-class income, making the idea of keeping even a low-paying part-time job seem futile. It's a glaring issue that forces many mothers to step back from their careers, spotlighting a stark choice between financial stability and nurturing a family in a society that needs to reevaluate its support for working parents.

Overall, Switzerland allocates less than 0.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to funding childcare, a figure that falls short of the majority of European nations. In contrast, military expenditure receives 0.8% of the nation's GDP.


As the situation wasn’t grim enough, last year Switzerland ranked among the countries witnessing the most significant rise in the number of children residing in homes facing economic challenges.


The Gender Gap in Management

The status of women in management positions reflects persistent challenges despite ongoing efforts for gender equality. Women face a significant gender pay gap, underrepresentation in executive roles, and barriers stemming from biases and stereotypes.

Boards continue to lack gender diversity, prompting global initiatives to increase female representation. Organizations are implementing diversity and inclusion measures to address these issues.

While progress has been made, the journey towards equal opportunities for women in management roles remains a dynamic and evolving landscape, requiring continued commitment to fostering workplace equity.

Of the 100 largest employers in Switzerland, almost one in four companies still has no women on its management board, even though a minimum quota of 20% will apply to listed companies as of 2031. Specifically, 23 companies currently have no women in top management, according to a report published by executive recruitment agency Guido Schilling.

The majority of companies have a single woman on the management board.

What actions can companies undertake to contribute to narrowing the gender gap?

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Promote equal representation on corporate boards

  • Develop an inclusive leadership training program

  • Form purposeful mixed-gender teams

  • Emphasize collaboration over competition

  • Build an inclusive company culture

How can you support your company?

  • Promote Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Get involved in or suggest the creation of diversity and inclusion committees or initiatives that focus on creating a more inclusive workplace culture.

  • Advocate for Flexible Working Arrangements: Promote policies that support work-life balance, such as flexible working hours and the option to work remotely, which can be particularly beneficial for caregivers.

  • Educate and Raise Awareness: Organize workshops or discussions on gender bias, inclusivity, and the importance of diversity in the workplace to educate your colleagues and leadership.

  • Challenge Discriminatory Practices: Speak up against any discriminatory practices or policies you observe within the company. Be an ally to those who might be experiencing inequality.

  • Benchmark Best Practices: Look into best practices from other companies that have successfully reduced the gender pay gap and increased inclusivity, and suggest implementing similar strategies.


The journey ahead is long, but with determination and teamwork, we're headed towards a brighter future. We're not just making history; we're shaping a fairer tomorrow for everyone.





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