Equality between men women has been enshrined in the Swiss Constitution since 1981. The Federal Office for Gender Equality FOGE was set up in 1988. The Swiss Gender Equality Act has been in force since 1996 and in particular prohibits any form of discrimination in the area of paid work. The ban on discrimination applies to all areas of working life: appointments, pay, promotion, education and training or termination. Discrimination on grounds of civil status, family situation, or pregnancy is also banned.
Equality should extend beyond the equality of opportunity and also take into account social or cultural aspects of inequality. The concept also embraces equality in the division of tasks between both sexes. The Gender Equality Act makes it possible for both men and women to defend themselves against direct and indirect discrimination – in the family, in employment, or in the event of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Since 1988 Swiss marital law has also been based on the principle of equality of women and men. According to the law, the spouse who looks after the home, children or helps the other spouse in their profession or trade is entitled to “a commensurate amount of which they can freely dispose” from the other spouse’s income or assets.