Gesine Fuchs

2009: Women in Switzerland

2009 Women in Switzerland: From Backwardness to Uneven Progress. – In: Gelb, Joyce; Palley/Marian Lief (eds.): Women and Politics around the world. A comparative his­tory and survey. 2 Bände. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO (2), 581–603.

In this essay, it is argued that the peculiarities of the Swiss political decision-making process (consociational, federal and semi-direct democracy) shape political opportunities and attempts to improve the status of women. In particular, the features of this process affect political culture and movement strategies. Direct democracy requires supporters of new policies to gain majorities in the general population and the cantons, which can take a long time. In achieving such support, networking and cooperating with the corporatist structure are important. Finally, although much can be achieved by stressing the liberal notion of equal rights, redistributive policies still rarely succeed. Throughout the essay this claim will be supported by reference to specific policy areas.