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Gender gap More work but no great reward for Swiss women

Monika Ribar, chairwoman of Swiss Railways, is one of the few high profile female executives in Switzerland


More Swiss women are entering the workplace than before, yet men still bring home twice as much income to the average household. Official statistics show men contributing just over two thirds of total income while the typical share of women is 32%.

The distribution of household income between men and women has barely changed between 2007 and 2015, research from the Federal Statistical Office shows.

One of the reasons behind the discrepancy is that less mothers (between 14% and 16.5% depending on the age of children) work full-time than fathers (at least 79%). The share of women’s income to the household declines as the number of children in the family rises.

For couples without children, women typically account for 40% of household income. That declines to 20% when there are three or more children in the household as women take on the majority of childcare duties.

Another reason for women bringing home less money from the workplace is inequality in wages. Women typically earn around 20% less than male counterparts in Switzerland when doing similar jobs, figures show. Some 40% of this gender wage gap can only be explained by discrimination, stated a 2014 statistical office report.

To counter the gender wage gap, Swiss cabinet is considering new regulations, such as the requirement for large companies to publish wage distribution among male and female employees.

The percentage of women with paying jobs in Switzerland has grown in recent decades. In 1970, a quarter of all mothers with at least one child under the age of seven took outside jobs. Two decades later, 38% of all mothers worked. By 2000, the figure surged to 60%. And by 2014, it was up to 74%.

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