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Equal opportunities at Swiss universities

The promotion of equal opportunity is today internationally considered a required standard in science and constitutes a central quality criterion for the whole academic environment. In Switzerland the federal programmes of 2000 - 2011/12 have contributed significantly to the establishment and consolidation of this standard. At all universities and advanced technical colleges equal opportunity structures were incorporated and special measures for the factual equality of women and men were implemented.

This factual equality of women and men at Swiss universities and the structural consolidation of the equal opportunity efforts still are, despite many successful steps, not sustainably ensured. The careers of women and men are not identical; so far, still too many women leave the academic environment after their doctorate, or they do not have the same and equal opportunities for a professorship respectively. In MINT subjects (mathematics, IT, natural sciences, technology) women are clearly underrepresented on all levels of the hierarchy at the ETH and FH institutions. Men, on the other hand, are underrepresented in the advanced colleges in the disciplines of social work and health, and the greatest discrepancy in the numbers of the genders at the universities is found in veterinary medicine.

In order to unlock this potential the universities are participating in the SUK Programme P4 “Equal opportunity of women and men at universities / Gender Studies 2013-2016” and the advanced technical colleges in the federal programme “Equal opportunity for women and men at the Universities of Applied Sciences 2013-2016”, respectively. These programmes have the following aims, with the different respective focuses: the institutional establishment of equal opportunity for women and men in the fields of organization, teaching, research and next generation promotion; the overcoming of gender stereotypes in the choices of jobs and subjects, as well as family-friendly structures for students and staff, in order to enhance the compatibility between studies, job and other, non-professional involvements, and to enhance the career opportunities for women.