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Pandemic widened workplace inequality for women in Switzerland

Pandemic widened workplace inequality for women in Switzerland

According to an annual survey, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened workplace and work-related inequality for women in Switzerland, with gender-based discrimination at work remaining especially problematic in most jobs in Switzerland

Equal pay is a big issue for Swiss women 

The survey, which was conducted by the employee umbrella organisation Travail.Suisse, found that men in Switzerland benefited from the pandemic relief measures such as rest periods, health protection measures and working from home, more than women did. The report noted an increase in the benefits gap between men and women, which has continued throughout 2020 and 2021.

Travail.Suisse stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had made workplace discrimination, “which had already severely affected women’s lives and careers”, significantly worse. Equal pay is still a high-profile issue for women in the workplace in Switzerland. One in five respondents also felt that women had fewer opportunities to be promoted to managerial roles. 

Working from home creates new types of stress

Since the pandemic has forced businesses to encourage working from home, many people with children or elderly relatives to take care of have found themselves having to split their time between work and caring for their loved ones. 

The majority of employees surveyed said that they were able to balance work and their private life in the past year, though one third said that they often found themselves too fatigued to deal with issues at home. Travail.Suisse also criticised the lack of suitable structures for childcare and care for relatives. 

Employee stress in Switzerland is high

Almost 45 percent of those surveyed said that they often feel stressed about work, despite the survey also finding that employees' fears about losing their job were significantly lower than in other years. 

The organisation behind the survey did however cast some doubt over the “accuracy” of their job fears measurement in the long run, since the survey took place in June 2021, when COVID-19 measures were relatively relaxed. In the longer term, people’s job fears may surge if the economy sees a downturn. 

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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