Federal Council adopts national gender equality strategy

Bern, 28.04.2021 - The Federal Council adopted the 2030 gender equality strategy at its meeting on 28 April. This is the Swiss government's first national strategy specifically aimed at promoting gender equality. It focuses on four central themes: promoting equality in the workplace, improving work-life balance, preventing violence, and fighting discrimination. The key measures of the strategy will be fleshed out by the end of the year and are expected to be adopted or implemented by 2023. An interim review of the strategy will be undertaken at the end of 2025.

Switzerland has seen much progress in gender equality since the introduction of women's suffrage 50 years ago. Full gender equality is not yet a reality, however. In adopting the 2030 gender equality strategy, the Federal Council intends to close these gaps. The stated objective of the strategy is to ensure that women and men participate equally in economic, family and social life, enjoy the same social protection throughout their entire lives and realise their full potential in a respectful environment free of discrimination and violence. The strategy focuses on four action areas.

Further promotion of equality in professional life

The Federal Council wants to eliminate gender-related pay discrimination in the public and private sectors and achieve a more balanced representation of women and men in the workforce. Other goals in relation to professional and public life are to improve the pension situation for women and help bring about a better gender balance in education, among all occupational groups, at all levels of responsibility and in all decision-making bodies. This would mean, for example, a higher proportion of women in management at higher education institutions or recruiting more men in teaching and healthcare professions.

Further promotion of reconciliation of work and family life

The instruments for reconciling work and family life are to be further strengthened. Parental leave, family-friendly working hours and better social protection for parents and family carers will be encouraged. The Federal Council also wants to reduce the risk of families falling into poverty, in particular single-parent families.

Reinforced prevention of gender-based violence

The Federal Council has set itself the goal of reducing violence against women and domestic violence and improving the personal safety of women. Measures will be stepped up to protect victims and to hold perpetrators accountable for their behaviour. For example, projects aimed at preventing violence will be supported, and advances will be made in collecting statistics on violence against women and domestic violence.

Increased fight against discrimination 

The strategy also aims to eliminate discrimination and sexism so that women and men have the same opportunities throughout their entire lives. Thus, the Federal Council intends to ensure that no regulations in federal law discriminate on the basis of gender. Information, awareness and training activities will be developed in this regard, such as in the health sector or in central institutions such as the Swiss Armed Forces. The latter, for example, envisages a specific programme for identifying and preventing gender discrimination.

Measures by the end of the year

For each of these objectives, the strategy contains a series of measures at both national and international level. All federal departments and the Federal Chancellery are involved in the process and tasked with implementing the appropriate measures. The details of the 2030 gender equality strategy will be refined in a series of measures by the end of 2021. An interim review will be conducted at the end of 2025.

Close cooperation with the cantons, cities and communes

In the course of developing the strategy, an exchange took place with the cantons and communes and with various stakeholder groups. The Confederation wants to intensify this dialogue and collaboration between the federal levels, as well as the exchange with civil society, business and academia.

Gender equality not yet achieved

Despite the fact that gender equality has been enshrined in the Federal Constitution since 1981, it is still not a reality in Switzerland. On average, women earn 19% less than men. Over 55 acts of domestic violence are committed every day, and in 70% of cases the victim is female. Joint taxation of spouses and difficulties in reconciling work and family life often create disincentives for women to join the workforce or for men to take on more family or caring responsibilities. The consequences of this ‒ a shortage of skilled workers, financial risk in case of separation, poverty in old age and a unilateral burden on the man as the main provider ‒ have negative impacts on society and the economy.

Address for enquiries

Hanna Jordi, Communications Officer FOGE, media@ebg.admin.ch, +41 58 484 98 18


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Home Affairs

Federal Office for Gender Equality

Federal Department of Justice and Police