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Despite real progress to promote gender equality in Switzerland, discrimination at work and in the legal system mean that Swiss women are still worse off than some of their European neighbours. The labour market needs to be reformed and wage discrepancies – averaging 20 per cent – are still a reason for concern.
The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.
The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.
In the Social Institutions and Gender Index 2014 Edition , Switzerland was not classified in the SIGI due to lack of full dataset. It has lower discrimination in restricted access to resources and assets and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here: http://www.genderindex.org/country/switzerland
A Law for Equality between Women and Men came into force in 1996. In 2002, the federal government decided to realise a Swiss action-plan which reflects the decisions put forward by the fourth UN World Conference on Women held in 1995. The aim of the action plan is to encourage equal access to power and decision-making positions on every level, to turn professional equality into reality, to elaborate a prevention and intervention programme on violence against women and to guarantee equality of opportunities in the education of boys and girls. Furthermore, the action plan calls for the collection, analysis and distribution of gender statistics and qualitative studies as well as the promotion of a non-stereotyped image of women and men in the media.
In 2001, women accounted for 48 per cent of university students. However, they are still frequently under-represented in the higher education and R&D sectors. Some political measures and grants have been introduced to bring more women into these fields. Specific programmes for the cultural sector are not included in the action-plan.
Women received the right to vote only in 1971, much later than in other industrialised countries. Although Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base Variables: Political Empowerment has improved, women are still under-represented in political life. The country only ranks 26th in the world when it comes to Women's Political Empowerment .
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law, 2012 presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women’s economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.