Women Remain Underrepresented in Political Office in Switzerland

With upcoming Federal elections on the 20 October 2019 in Switzerland, Gender Concerns International finds it imperative that more is done to address gender disparity in the election process

Director Ms. Bano had various positive meetings, including at the Federal Chancellery and with Alliance F, the Federation of Swiss Women’s Associations in Bern to discuss the scope for improving gender parity in Swiss elections and the need for more women as candidates and politicians.

Although Gender Concerns International has every confidence that the upcoming elections will be organized in a professional and transparent manner, there are several concerns relating to women’s participation.

The Federal Council has promoted more awareness raising on gender-balanced candidate lists among political parties and groups, but there are no legal requirements to promote female candidates and voluntary efforts to increase women’s participation in political life has been insufficient to change the trend.

Currently women only comprise 28 percent of members in the Federal Assembly, and 29 percent of seats in the cantonal parliaments in Switzerland.

Additional concerns that have up until now been inadequately addressed include gender stereotyping in both politics and the media that hinder women’s inclusion in political life in Switzerland.

Figure 1: Meeting at Federal Chancellery with Ms. Perriard (Head, Political Rights Section) and Ms. Graf (Election Manager)

Figure 2:Meeting with Alliance F Co-Presidents Maya Graf and Kathrin Bertschy at the Bundeshaus (Parliament Building)