13.2 Gender inequality in the division of paid and unpaid work: A comparison of Swiss regions

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 9:15 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Martin GASSER , University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Sarah KERSTEN , University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Michael NOLLERT , University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Sebastian SCHIEF , University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Switzerland has one of the strongest federalisms in the world and can thus be seen as a “policy laboratory”. The 26 political units (cantons) are quite diverse in terms of gender equality policies, cultural contexts and socio-economic structures. Also, there are disparities in extent and form of democratic principles. Our project investigates the links between these institutions and gender inequality. For this, we need to know whether and how the 26 regions differ in terms of gender inequalities.

Switzerland is often classified as one of the top countries in international comparisons of gender equality (e.g. UNDP 2010, World Economic Forum 2010). But such findings should not hide the facts that gender inequalities still persist and that there are considerable regional disparities. Previous research published in a Gender Equality Atlas found least gender inequality for urban areas in the French speaking part and most gender inequality for rural cantons in Central Switzerland. Other studies have shown the wage gap to vary substantially by region. One of the areas in which gender inequality is most clearly visible is the division of paid and unpaid work. We measure this gender gap with an index and a typology and consider inequalities in paid work, household and family work and volunteer work.

In the first part the basic construction principles of indices and typologies are discussed and adapted to our goal of comparing Swiss cantons. The second part then presents the typology we have developed and in the third part our attempt to measure regional disparities by a composite index is illustrated. The comparison of the typology and the index in the fourth and concluding part discusses divergent cases between typology and index.