In Switzerland, women achieved several important goals over past 50 years to ensure equal treatment. As one of the latest European countries, Switzerland’s legislature allowed women to vote on federal elections only since 1971. But it has constantly changed its laws to improve equal treatment ever since. Today, the law ensures that women have the same opportunities as men – regarding both the legal situation in a family and on the job market. In 1977, the government also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (in short, CEDAW), which is a treaty created by the United Nations Assembly to ensure equal treatment regardless of the gender. It is also known as an international bill of rights for women.
Yet, there still are concerns about the “real” situation for women, mainly in the working environment. In some cases, women appear to have problems with their employers because of the difference between salaries for male/female workers, even if working in an equal position. Those cases are hard to prove, and it is unclear whether this problem is only a rumor or if it is an attempt of those employers to circumvent legislation in order to cut down on salaries. Either way, this issue is an exception in Switzerland, and there is little doubt that the solidarity in the greater part of Swiss society and the Government will further diminish those inequalities in the future.
A good example for women’s achievements is the fact that they also represent the head of the government. Remember that the Federal Council consists of seven members. After this year’s election, two of the seven positions are filled by women. While this is rather a bad example of an even distribution, in 2010, the Federal Council had a surprising and impressive majority of female Councillors. This may indeed be the best proof that women are as capable to work on par with their male colleagues.
Communications Minister Doris Leuthard – a symbol for women in Switzerland
Switzerland may still be far from a perfectly equal society, but it still has achieved many improvements allowing an equal and more self-respecting nation. The regularly improving legislature ensures that the inequality becomes a major problem, while it is the people of Switzerland who have developed a greater sense for solidarity. As a result, women nowadays have the best opportunities to excel in their lives.
by Mario D.