How Gender Quotas Work in Switzerland
Fuchs, Gesine (2023): How Gender Quotas Work in Switzerland. In Sabine Lang, Petra Meier, Birgit Sauer (Eds.): Party Politics and the Implementation of Gender Quotas. Cham: Springer International Publishing (Gender and politics), pp. 51–70.
As a democratic latecomer, Switzerland enfranchised women in 1971. In 2019, the Swiss elected 42% women to the lower chamber (Nationalrat) with no legal quota in force and only few parties with list quota. How did this happen? In Switzerland with its crosscutting cleavages, several institutionalized mechanisms to cope with divisive aspects of diversity have been developed, among others, informal quota and proportional representation. They seem to have spilled over to the question of gender in politics. This chapter analyses the workings of (formal) gender quota on party lists and the significance of (informal) gender quota for the election of national ministers: when parties nominate candidates for legislative and executive office, gender is one feature among others (like region, age, profession or party wing) that should be addressed. It discusses in which respect informal quotas can serve as institutional equivalents to legal gender quota in politics and if this solution is sustainable.