Despite the fact that gender equality is enshrined in the Swiss constitution, it has only been partly achieved in education, the job market and social security, according to the findings of a national research programme.
Researchers said on Tuesday that it remains difficult to combine family life and a career in Switzerland because of a lack of affordable care options.
Women still earn lower wages than men doing the same work, there is a lack of security for older women with lower means, and gender stereotypes prevail, the study found.
The practices and teaching materials used in nurseries and schools for example still convey stereotypical concepts of “feminine” and “masculine” behaviour and don’t support atypical career choices of boys and girls, according to the researchers. They conducted a total of 21 projects as part of the gender equality programme, which was mandated by the cabinet.
Young men still see their future role as breadwinners, while younger women choose professions they can practise part-time or after taking parental leave. This reinforces the inequality and an unequal distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women – to the detriment of the latter.
This is why parents and teachers should be more aware of the influence they have on young people choosing a course of studies or a profession, the researchers wrote in their conclusions. And employers should ensure that all employees are able to do unpaid care work alongside their paid jobs without suffering any disadvantages.
In addition, taxes, social transfers and childcare costs influence parents' decision as to who goes to work and who takes on the unpaid housework.
As a result, companies and the public sector assume that women do the family work and men devote their lives exclusively to their careers.