Where are all the women?
Featured in our Switzerland Report (July 2021)
Switzerland recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of universal suffrage: following a 1971 referendum, approved by 65.7 per cent of an exclusively male electorate, Swiss women won the right to vote and stand for election at a federal level. Even so, it took until 1991 before they were finally allowed to vote in regional elections in the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. As a benchmark of how far things have since changed, women won over 40 per cent of seats in the Swiss Parliament at the 2019 federal election.
Change is also happening in the Swiss legal profession, albeit at a slower pace. The recent appointment of Sandra De Vito Bieri as the new managing partner of Bratschi is another major victory for female representation: the first time such a role has been held by a woman at any full-service Swiss law firm. When viewed in isolation, hers is a notable achievement, but it also serves to underline how far Swiss female lawyers have yet to go elsewhere.