Equal opportunities for men and women: a lot done, a lot still to do

On 28 November 2007, the Federal Council mandated the Swiss National Science Foundation to launch NRP 60 "Gender Equality" with an overall budget of CHF 8 million. In 21 interdisciplinary projects, researchers analysed the impacts and challenges facing gender policy programmes and measures in Switzerland as well as the complex reasons for persisting gender inequality.

The results were focalised across four practice-relevant areas. According to NRP 60, gender equality in the sense of equal opportunities creates economic, societal and personal benefits. In all four areas - education; job market; compatibility of family, education and profession; social security - the conditions for equal opportunity and free choice still need to be improved or created despite formal gender equality.

  • Boys and girls, men and women with or without children need to be considered in equal measure when deciding on gender equality measures. Everyone's individual choices and lifestyles need to be acknowledged.
  • The knowledge of all actors working in areas relevant to gender equality needs to be pooled and applied appropriately. At important transitional points in life, more openness and freedom of choice needs to be created for everyone.
  • The interplay of income, tax, social transfer and childcare costs needs to be considered carefully if we want to ensure that paid work of men and women has the same value. Only if this is the case, will couples be able to decide freely who does how much paid or unpaid work.
  • It is important to address gender equality as a whole: we need comparable measures in the four areas education, job market, compatibility and social security.

The programme has provided new stimuli to propel this important debate forward on the basis of solid facts. The synthesis report (available in German and French) presents 20 concrete impulses, based on scientific results to attain gender equality. The scientific community has benefited from three special editions of recognised scientific journals (Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 2014; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 2015; Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Bildungswissenschaften, 2015). In addition, the book "Gender Equality in Context: Policies and Practices in Switzerland" with eleven contributions from NRP 60 will be published in January 2016.

Further information on this content

Synthesis Report May 2014

The synthesis report is available in German, French and Italian. It can also be ordered free of charge: or 031 308 22 22.