‘You have to make a big organizational effort’

For Claudine Esseiva, reconciling a career with family requires discussion between a couple. Keystone / Rouzes

With a Masters degree in entrepreneurship, Claudine Esseiva from Switzerland has over a decade of management experience at the age of 42. A member of city parliament, and the mother of a six-year-old son, she coordinates her various commitments with her husband. 

This content was published on August 9, 2020 - 11:00

"It has always been clear to me that I wanted to continue working, because financial independence and the fact that there are two people on an equal footing in everyday life are very important to me," explains Esseiva, who has worked as a consultant and partner at a Bern-based public relations agency since 2011. 

Since 2017, she has also represented the centre-right Radical Party in Bern’s city parliament. She also chairs the association BPW Switzerland (Business and Professional Women). She admits that all these commitments are not always easy to handle. 

"My husband and I are careful to take equal care of our son," she says. Milan, her six-year-old, attends kindergarten and preschool, and family members also help with childcare. 

"We have to make a big organisational effort," she says, adding that she and her husband had many discussions about division of labour before deciding to start a family. In most cases in Switzerland, couples decide that the woman will be the one who primarily takes care of the children, reducing her working time to 40-50%, while the man continues to work full-time. 

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