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Equality Swiss women farmers demand social security

Woman mucking out a cow stall

A young farmer in Bern. Female farmers are responsible for 70% of the world’s food.


In Switzerland, more than 31,000 women farmers receive little or no social protection. Their professional association has therefore launched an appeal together with Swissaid, calling for better social protection under the federal agricultural policy. 

“While the whole of Switzerland is currently thinking about the situation of women, a group of women – women farmers – is regularly forgotten about,” said the Swiss Association of Women Farmers and Rural Womenexternal link and Swissaidexternal link, the Swiss foundation for development cooperation, in Bern on Wednesday. 

The two organisations presented how the issues of social security, political representation and the improvement of the legal situation of women farmers in Switzerland and worldwide are linked. 

“Female farmers are responsible for 70% of the world’s food,” they said. “The insufficient social recognition is a disgrace, which must be corrected in Switzerland and around the world.”


Female farmers work 63 hours a week, according to government statistics. However, only 30% of them receive social security and are paid for their work, said Anne Challendes, president of the women farmers association. 

This difference is one of the main worries of women who contact the helpline for farmersexternal link, added Patrizia Schwegler, who is responsible for the helpline. She said the number of people getting in touch had risen since 2013. 

On Wednesday the two organisations launched their appeal outside parliament in Bern, handing out postcards and apples. They aim to collect as many signatures as possible over the next four months and then hand them in to the home affairs ministry and the foreign affairs ministry.


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