The fight for votes is making Swiss political parties more creative in their campaigns. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is now courting women – with a sexy muscle man.

"/> The fight for votes is making Swiss political parties more creative in their campaigns. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is now courting women – with a sexy muscle man.

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ELECTION

SVP seeks women’s votes with muscle man

The fight for votes is making Swiss political parties more creative in their campaigns. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is now courting women – with a sexy muscle man.

SVP seeks women’s votes with muscle man
SVP Screenshot

In around two months, Swiss national elections will take place. Studies find that Swiss women are less interested in politics than men, with the adversarial approach of politics keeping them away from the ballot box, Blick newspaper reports.

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), known for its aggressive campaign style, is advertising with a cinema commercial, similar to a chocolate or tourism ad, to win the favour of women voters.

The place of action is a lakeside bathing area somewhere in Switzerland. Three women are central to the story along with a well-built man who gets admiring glances until the anticlimax when the man lays out his blue EU towel and the women lose interest.   

At the end of the ad, the SVP says it’s “time for real values for Switzerland“ and, “Swiss women choose SVP“.

The SVP website says:

“The message is clear: it stands for real values. That means standing up for our Switzerland, only then can one appear successful.“

For Swiss academic and political commentator, Georg Lutz, it is clear that the SVP wants to change its image by addressing a different audience.

“People want to be young and sexy“, said Lutz to Blick, “But with this alone, they will not win the election campaign.”

 The professionally produced commercial was first aired in a cinema in Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. From this week, the campaign will appear nationally in many Swiss cinemas in the three national languages. It is already available on YouTube and other social media sites.

The SVP has previously courted controversy with billboards bemoaning “mass immigration” to Switzerland.


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WOMEN

Should stay-at-home parents in Switzerland be paid a salary?

A new Swiss divorce ruling sparks a proposal that parents who stay at home and take care of children while the other spouse works, should be compensated by the government.

Should stay-at-home parents in Switzerland be paid a salary?
Housework should be compensated by the government, some say. Photo by Guillaume Suivant / AFP

What is the new divorce rule?

Switzerland’s highest court has handed down a decision removing the responsibility of an employed spouse to financially support the partner who has not worked outside of home during marriage.

While the ruling doesn’t mention gender, it particularly affects women.

Specifically, the court lifted the so-called “45-year-old rule”, under which stay-at-home spouses were not obligated to support themselves after divorce, if they were over 45 years old.

In its ruling, the court said that “the possibility of gainful employment must always be assumed” regardless of age, though exemptions could be made in some situations, including care of small children, lack of professional experience, and health.

How has this ruling spawned off the idea of compensating stay-at-home parents?

It came from a Swiss writer and editor Sibylle Stillhart who said in an interview that “finding a well-paying job after not having been employed at all or only part-time for years is not easy, if not impossible”.

She added that taking care of housework and children, requires 58 hours a week of “unpaid labour”.

What does she propose?

She said the state should pay income for domestic work.

“This way, if a couple separates and the woman finds herself with her dependent children and no salaried work, she would nevertheless be supported by the community for the services rendered, in particular for the education of the children who, later, will also contribute to national prosperity through their work”.

Stillhart suggested that a monthly salary of 7,000 francs for a family with two children is fair.

“Don’t tell me that Switzerland is not rich enough for that “, she added.

READ MORE: ‘Unprecedented crisis’: New figures show stark impact of pandemic on all Swiss job sectors

Is this likely to happen?

Rudolf Minsch, economist at Economiesuisse, an umbrella organisation of Swiss businesses, said the proposal is not realistic.

“This would lead to massive tax increases. And it would not be profitable from the point of view of equality between men and women at the professional level, because women could be satisfied with this income and no longer seek to enter the labour market”, he said.

Is this idea new?

Not quite. While it’s the first one of its kind to be created as a response to new divorce rulings, the idea of basic income for everyone in Switzerland was floated around before.

On June 5, 2016, Swiss voters rejected the initiative “For an unconditional basic income”, which proposed that each resident receive 2,500 francs a month, regardless of whether they are employed or not. 

 All the cantons had said no, as had 76.9 percent of the population.

A few cantons stood out by being more open to the idea, such as Basel-City (36 percent in favour), Jura (35.8 percent) and Geneva (34.7 percent).

Despite this rejection, the idea continues to circulate in Switzerland and internationally.

READ MORE: What do teachers earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

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