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Women in the Federal Council – a history

With the election of Elisabeth Baume-Schneider to the Swiss government on December 7, 2022, the number of women who have served as ministers comes to ten. The meagre total is a sign of the long road that women took towards political inclusion in the country.

Baume-Schneider from the left-wing Social Democratic Party was elected with Albert Rösti from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party to replace outgoing ministers Simonetta Sommaruga and Ueli Maurer, respectively.

Four years ago, on December 5, 2018, two women were elected to the government for the first time: Viola Amherd became the eighth female minister and Karin Keller-Sutter the ninth.

Although women’s suffrage was introduced in 1971 in Switzerland, it took 13 years for the election of the first female minister, Elisabeth Kopp. Progress following this was also slow: to date, 111 men have served as ministers, compared with the ten women.

Members of the government are elected every four years by the joint chambers of parliament; votes also take place whenever a sitting minister decides to step down.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR