The relevant legislative committees of Parliament will examine the 23 petitions submitted by the second Women’s session. They will decide whether and how to follow up on the demands adopted on 30 October 2021 in the National Council chamber by 246 elected women hailing from all regions of Switzerland.

The 246 women MPs, aged between 17 and 82, and from a wide range of professions, were chosen by more than 10,000 women and were supported in their work by 46 former and current women members of the National Council and the Council of States, by four women presidents of the Federal Parliament and by female experts. They sat in Parliament exactly 50 years after the first elections in which Swiss women were allowed to vote and run for office, 30 years after the first Women’s session and 40 years after gender equality was anchored in the Federal Constitution.

Request for a review of criminal law in respect of sexual offences

The second Women’s session demanded first and foremost a review of federal legislation in respect of sexual offences, equal pay and conditional voting rights for foreign nationals. The issues at stake are: explicit consent to engage in sexual intercourse in a bid to better protect rape victims; a national campaign to prevent gender-based violence; the publication of salaries in companies with more than 50 employees; the right to vote and stand for election for foreign nationals who have been in Switzerland for five years; the adaptation of matrimonial property law to protect women’s rights to their farms; and the promotion of women in science and research.

The second Women’s session also called for improvements in the situation of the destitute elderly and in the conditions for voluntary work. It emphasised the importance of validating care work and intends to establish a ‘Federal Office for Equality and the Family’ and funding for childcare services.

A third Women’s session in 2051?

The petitions of the Women’s session were approved after two days of debate and were officially handed over to the president of the National Council, Irène Kälin, and the vice president of the Council of States, Brigitte Häberli-Koller, on 30 October. The co-chairs of alliance F – the member of the Council of States, Maya Graf (Green Party/BL) and the member of the National Council, Kathrin Bertschy (Green Liberals/BE) – are hopeful that in 30 years’ time, women’s views will no longer be in the minority and a third women’s session may well not be necessary. (web page about the 2021 Women’s session, available in German, French, Italian and Romansh) (document in French describing the petitions approved by the 2021 Women’s session)

Fotografs : Yoshiko Kusano et Monika Flueckiger

Source: Alliance F