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women in politics Wanted: Female mayors

Despite the “female wave” that hit the Swiss parliament in October, resulting in an unprecedented number of women being elected, women are still largely underrepresented in other Swiss political circles, like local and cantonal councils.

Virginie Gaspoz, 31, moved back to Evolène, her hometown in canton Valais, after working for a few years in the federal administration in Bern. Being pregnant with her first child, she wanted to find a job that better suited her family plan and moved closer to the baby’s future grandparents. When she was asked to run for mayor, she found the perfect fit.

“You can organise yourself as you need. It’s important to have a good entourage to care of the children, but you can arrange things pretty easily,” she said. Elected in 2016 as the first woman mayor of Evolène, Virginie Gaspoz will run again for a second mandate.

Only 16% of Swiss mayors are women. The director of the Association of Swiss Communesexternal link Christoph Niederberger says this could be because women are less likely to put themselves forward and are less often asked to run for office. 


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