​As a Vaudois farmer and a member of parliament for the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) who defends women’s rights, Alice Glauser is not a typical politician. Here she tells us something of her life and of her ideas and projects to promote the cause of women farmers.

Originally from Sierre in Valais, Alice Glauser made her home in Champvent in the northern part of the canton of Vaud. There she and her husband are winegrowers in La Cave des 13 coteaux cooperative. In the course of her career, defending women farmers’ rights has become one of her main passions. Alice Glauser is the founder and president of the Femmes UDC Romande (Women’s SVP for Western Switzerland), and is also a member of various women’s and farmers’ interest groups, including the Association Vaudoise pour les Droits de la Femme (ADF), the Association romande des paysannes professionnelles (ARPP) and the Centre de Liaison des Associations Féminines Vaudoises (CLAFV), of which she is a committee member.

Alice Glauser is one of the 23 female members of the SVP who have so far sat in the National Council and one of the 14 currently in Parliament, a record number for this party. She is also the second female SVP member from Vaud to be elected to the National Council, after Emmanuella Blaser, who was elected in 1995. Ms Glauser first sat from 2007 to 2011, and re-entered Parliament in 2016, taking up the seat left empty by her party colleague Guy Parmelin following his election to the Federal Council.

Speaking up for women

Alice Glauser is a pioneer, in particular because she is the first female politician to champion the rights of women farmers. She has voted several times against the party line in the defence of this issue. For example, she was in favour of holding a debate in Parliament on revising the Gender Equality Act (17.047. Gender Equality Act. Modification) although the SVP’s official position was that the law introduced 22 years ago afforded women sufficient protection against pay discrimination.

This dissenting voice had a decisive influence on the vote on the representation of women at the head of large listed companies (16.077 CO. Law on Limited Liability Companies). The Federal Council’s bill to introduce a female quota on the management and executive boards of large companies was approved by a very slender majority – 95 votes to 94. Alice Glauser was one of three abstainers, whose missing votes tipped the balance in favour of the bill. The day following the Women’s Strike of 14 June 2019, the Council of States finally voted in favour of the reform, confirming by a clear 29 votes to 9 the need for better female representation in the decision-making bodies of listed companies.