Women take control of cabinet in Switzerland
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.
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)