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Swiss adopt first national strategy on gender equality

A scene from Lucerne during the national women's strike in 2019 Keystone / Alexandra Wey

The Swiss government has new strategy to promote equal pay as well as the compatibility of careers and family life. There will also be a push to protect women from violence.

This content was published on April 28, 2021 - 16:01
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Adopted by Switzerland’s executive branch on Wednesday, the National Strategy for Gender Equality is an effort to combat discrimination, sexism and violence. The aim is to achieve true gender equality by 2030.

An article on equality was enshrined in the Federal Constitution in 1981. Article 8 states: “Men and women shall have equal rights. The law shall ensure their equality in law and in fact, especially in the family, in education and in the workplace. Men and women are entitled to equal pay for work of equal value.” The relevant law has been in force since 1996.

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However, this has not yet been fully implemented, as national statistics and international rankings such as those of the WEF Economic Forum and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show. “We can and we must improve,” noted the government.

The concrete measures to be implemented by 2023 are listed in a 14-page report. The measures include, for example, the annual development and publication of high-quality tools for wage equality analysis and the adoption of a national strategy for reconciling work and family life in cooperation with the cantons. Reducing the risk of poverty among families, especially single mothers and fathers, is another goal.

In the area of violence, the government is to present an action plan to the Istanbul Convention and strengthen measures to protect victims. For example, there should be better development and use of statistics on violence against women and domestic violence.

The Gender Equality Strategy 2030 is a federal work programme. In order to implement the strategy, the federal government will rely on the participation of the cantons and municipalities and regular exchanges with civil society, in particular with NGOs, the business community and academia. An initial assessment of the strategy will be made at the end of 2025.


 

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