Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich, has unveiled the country's first map exclusively for women. The map is a guide to "women-friendly" hotels, restaurants, shops, and counselling services, without excluding the usual tourist attractions.
"We decided to draw up a map of Zurich to show where women can go to do their shopping, where beauty centres are or where to go to receive counselling," says Maya Kipfer, one of the map's designers.
On the list are cinemas and medical centres catering exclusively for women, as well as Zurich's only all-female hotel, the "Lady's First" on Mainaustrasse.
Manager Yael Schneider says that as Zurich is Switzerland's business and financial capital, the city is ideally suited to have such a hotel.
"The basic idea is to offer an alternative to travelling businesswomen because our concept is based on a large health and beauty zone. Businesswomen come here to relax between meetings or in the evening," Schneider says.
Hair up and no makeup
"They can walk around with their hair up and no make-up on in their bathrobe and slippers and they don't run the risk of standing in an elevator next to an elegantly dressed businessman and feel uncomfortable!" she laughs.
A tour of the rooms proves just how woman-friendly the hotel is. Beside each basin is a powerful hairdryer, as well as special lighting to ease the application of make-up.
As a boutique hotel, the interior design maximises the comfort factor.
Top of Kipfer's list when deciding on other places to include on the map, was how welcome women were to relax and interact with fellow women. A good example is the Book and Wine store on Ankerstrasse.
Owner Rosmarie Gfeller invites Kipfer and an inquisitive journalist in, and seated around the kitchen table, which forms an integral part of the shop, she pours everyone a glass of red wine.
"We decided to have stores owned by women and this is a good example because a woman can come here and have a glass of wine or cup of coffee while dipping into a book," Kipfer says between sips of wine.
Legal advice and surfing
The "Zürcher Frauenzentrale" is a short walk down the road, marked number 19 on the map. The centre provides legal advice to women, offers training courses on how to surf the web effectively and how to set up a business.
"I think women have advanced enormously in the last couple of years," says the president of the centre, Evi Rigg. "They are pilots, engineers, computer specialists. But we still have very few women at the top of big companies."
"The real problem is still how to combine managing a family and a career. More still needs to be done in the realm of child care services," she adds.
There are 56 places listed on Kipfer's map, all which welcome women and provide a relaxing and friendly environment. And they not only cater to tourists, but for women living in Zurich as well.
by Samantha Tonkin