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Swiss boardrooms need more women: campaign

Malcolm Curtis · 9 Oct 2012, 11:31

Published: 09 Oct 2012 11:31 GMT+02:00

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The proposal for a 30 percent quota of females in the boardrooms of Swiss companies is being championed by Annabelle, a German-language women’s magazine.

“Sometimes it just takes just one woman to change Switzerland - sometimes 30 percent,” the magazine says on a front cover featuring Mabel Zuppinger, founder of Annabelle in 1938.


(Reproduced by kind permission of Annabelle)

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In spite of progress made by Swiss women in many areas of life they remain vastly under-represented in the business world, the magazine notes.

Women account for just 11 percent of company directors and just three percent of CEOs.

These figures have remained static for years, although more woman than men in the country now have a university degree and overall they graduate with higher grades.

The magazine sees the establishment of a quota on a temporary basis as the only way to change the situation.

It suggests 30 percent for the management of companies with 200 or more employees, with the quota set in place for five years.

“We believe that there will be enough role models and door openers in this period so that women (afterwards) will be able to enter the boardroom without statutory help,” said Barbara Achermann, an editor for Annabelle.

The magazine’s campaign has won the support of 200 leaders from the worlds of business and culture.

Writer Sybille Berg, who noted the battles waged by suffragettes (women in Switzerland only earned the right to vote federally in 1971) and the fight for women’s right to study law, is among the backers.

“Sometimes, it takes common sense and a little statutory push,” she said.

But not everyone believes a quota is the best solution.

Film director Michael Steiner, for example, says a lack of childcare is preventing more women from advancing their careers.

“Instead of another regulatory law, it would be wiser for the state to offer free nursery places and to provide daycare at all schools,” Steiner is quoted as saying by 20 Minuten.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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