A majority of Swiss men think women should retire later, poll finds

A majority of Swiss men think women should retire later, poll finds

The current proposal by the Swiss government to raise the retirement age for women to 65 has sparked a heated debate ahead of the expected referendum in November. The latest polling suggests that the issue has divided the sexes, with a majority of men supporting the increase and a majority of women saying no.

Raising retirement age in Switzerland part of plan to secure funds

The retirement proposal, called AHV 21, aims to radically reform AHV, social security and pensions in Switzerland. The initiative is designed to improve the liquidity of pension and social security funds, so that payments can be guaranteed to the next generation.

Along with reorganising the minimum conversion rate, the government’s plan is to raise the retirement age for women to 65, to be in line with men. This has caused much outrage among women's rights groups, who have now garnered enough signatures to make the issue a referendum.

Majority of men in favour of Swiss AHV reform

According to the latest polling by the Sotomo research institute, 45 percent of those surveyed were slightly or fully in favour of the change. 48 percent of people answered “no” or “would rather not,” and 7 percent of people are yet to decide.

What is striking is the gap between the sexes. Only 31 percent of women are even slightly in favour of the move, with 61 percent saying no. For men, the opposite is true, with 59 percent of male respondents saying it was a good idea.

Poll results promise a heated referendum campaign in November

"I'm not surprised that the sexes judge this question differently," said Kathrin Bertschy, National Councillor for the Green Liberal Party. She noted that on average, women receive 20.000 Swiss francs less pension per year than men, something she says is a consequence of a lack of equality in jobs and salaries. Bertschy asserted that she would only vote for raising the retirement age if steps are made to address equal pay.

For the head of communications at the Swiss Trade Union Federation, Urban Hodel, the result makes sense as women know “poor pension security from personal experience.” Sotomo’s Managing Director Micheal Hermann observed that "it's obviously a vote in which people look very closely at their own wallets."

According to Hermann, the narrowness of the poll demonstrates the divisiveness of the issue, and indicates that a heated battle in the referendum campaign should be expected. "How it ends is completely open at the moment," he said.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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