Sunday 4 December 2016

Women take control of cabinet in Switzerland

Bruno Waterfield in Geneva

Published 23/09/2010 | 05:00

The Swiss government has more women in its cabinet than men for the first time in the country's history.

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Switzerland only granted women the vote in 1971, with one Swiss district, Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, continuing to bar women from local elections until 1990.

The shift in the balance of power came as the parliament in Bern voted Simonetta Sommaruga, a Social Democrat MP, on to the Federal Council.

The council is comprised of seven politicians from different parties, four of whom are now women, and does not have a fixed prime minister or president to rule Switzerland.

"It's a great day to see a female majority," said Claudine Esseiva, a cabinet minister.

Professor Pascal Sciarini, of the political science institute at the University of Geneva, said: "Symbolically, it is a rather powerful message from a country with a conservative reputation to have four women out of the seven seats in the government."

But the Swiss male backlash has begun. Rene Kuhn, the organiser of an international anti-feminist conference in Switzerland next month, said: "We all know that when lots of women work together there can be more problems." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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