Women still disadvantaged in Switzerland

Women are more likely to have low-paid jobs Keystone

Equality between men and women has still not been achieved in Switzerland, latest statistics reveal.

This content was published on November 27, 2003 minutes

Women are less educated, under-represented in the workplace, worse paid and more likely to do housework and bring up children than men.

However, women have two clear advantages over men: they live longer on average and are less likely to get into trouble with the law.

The latest study by the Federal Statistics Office shows that women come onto the job market with a substantial disadvantage – a lack of educational qualifications.

Twenty-three per cent of women aged between 25 and 64 have no higher education credentials, compared with 14 per cent of men.

The report also found that the choice of profession or subject studied at university was strongly influenced by sex-specific stereotypes.

Part-time work

More than half of all women work part time, compared with one in ten men, according to the report.

While there are more mothers with children aged under 15 working today than ten years ago, 70 per cent of all working women are employed in non-managerial roles. With men, the figure is 50 per cent.

Working conditions are worse for women, many of whom have short-term contracts or undertake menial tasks.

More women than men are poorly reimbursed for their work – last year, 11 per cent of women in full-time jobs brought home a maximum of SFr3,000 ($2,300) a month, compared with just two per cent of men.

Many women with families find themselves financially dependent on their partner. Only in one tenth of all households do both partners contribute equally to domestic expenses.

Household chores are unfairly divided, with the lion’s share falling on female shoulders, and that situation has not changed since 1997, according to the Statistics Office.

Women spend an average of 31 hours a week looking after the family and home, whereas men contribute just over half that amount.

In homes with children under the age of 15, this increases to 54 hours a week for women and 24 for men.

swissinfo, Faryal Mirza


Women in Switzerland still suffer discrimination in many areas, despite some progress over the past decade, according to the Federal Statistics Office.

They are less likely than men to have completed higher education and have professional qualifications.

They are more likely than men to have low-paid jobs and bear the brunt of housework.

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