In Switzerland, equality ends with pay


Berne/Zurich – Publications by the Federal Commission for Women’s Issues (FCWI) and the Advance association deal with the differences in income and wealth between women and men. They give Switzerland poor marks and point out solutions.

Women in Switzerland have far less money than men – according to two publications published at the end of 2023. The first is the Federal Commission for Women’s Issues (EKF) with the current issue of the magazine “Frauenfragen“, the second is the white paper by the business association for equality Advance and the auditing and consulting firm KPMG.

In “Women’s Issues”, experts discuss the topic of money from a gender perspective. The starting point is a quantitative analysis: it shows that the annual median income of women of working age is only 57 percent of that of men. Women are clearly overrepresented in low income groups. At just under CHF 30,000, the average annual income of women of retirement age is also around CHF 20,000 lower than that of men. The authors refer to studies according to which the difference in weekly paid work between men and women in Switzerland is the highest of the 37 OECD countries.

The white paper by Advance and KPMG explains that these inequalities are also a macroeconomic inefficiency that Switzerland can hardly afford in view of demographic change and the shortage of skilled workers. Many women work small hours and do most of the unpaid work at home. According to estimates, this corresponds to a monetary value of more than CHF 260 billion.

The measures listed in the publications to improve the situation are manifold. Researchers in women’s issues clearly state: “Generally speaking, family policy in Switzerland is inadequate by international standards.” Structures for affordable childcare are needed. Among other things, the white paper proposes the nationwide introduction of day schools and flexible working models. They all emphasized the need to break down stereotypes in the long term – in terms of career choices or role models. ce/yvh