Who run the world?

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Ka­trin Büchen­bacher

When you are liv­ing abroad, you ei­ther feel a lit­tle de­tached from what’s hap­pen­ing at home, or you grow a weird ob­ses­sion. I count my­self among the first. Swiss re­ally sweat the small stuff. Most re­cently, the ques­tion of whether or not cat­tle should be de­horned has dom­i­nated the pub­lic agenda. Com­pared to what’s hap­pen­ing in the rest of the world – come on.

But on Wednes­day, the Swiss re­ally blew my mind when the Par­lia­ment elected two women into the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment for the very first time in his­tory. Thirty years af­ter the first fe­male Fed­eral Coun­cil and 47 years af­ter women gained the right to vote, there still have been no more than seven women in the Fed­eral Coun­cil, com­pared to 110 men.

The cur­rent dou­ble sup­port for fe­male can­di­dates in gov­ern­ment is a clear credo for the fu­ture.

“A his­toric day for women,” the Swiss news­pa­per Tag­blatt said. Some voices on so­cial me­dia were more crit­i­cal.

“What a shame that still to­day we cel­e­brate this as some­thing un­usual,” hu­man rights ac­tivist Ste­fanie Ri­naldi tweeted. I agree, it’s a shame, but it is the re­al­ity.

Yes, Ger­many has had a fe­male chan­cel­lor for 13 years. Yes, Hi­lary Clin­ton, al­most be­came Pres­i­dent of the United States. How­ever, if we look at the hard facts, women are still un­der­rep­re­sented in po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship po­si­tions around the world.

Women’s po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion is ris­ing slowly, which is still good news. Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions Women in Pol­i­tics 2017 map, the global av­er­age of women in na­tional par­lia­ments in­creased just slightly from 22.6 per­cent in 2015 to 23.3 per­cent in 2016. In China, 24.9 per­cent of the 13th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress deputies were fe­male, an in­crease by 1.5 per­cent com­pared to the past year. In Swiss pol­i­tics, women make up for less than 25 per­cent over­all, while hav­ing a share of 32 per­cent. The Swiss gov­ern­ment elec­tion proves that the re­al­ity for women in pol­i­tics is chang­ing for the bet­ter, and this is worth cel­e­brat­ing.

“It’s a step in the right di­rec­tion when no­body will pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to gen­der,” newly elected Vi­ola Amherd said dur­ing her first press con­fer­ence as Fed­eral Coun­cil on Wednes­day.

Women make up for half of the pop­u­la­tion. We share com­mon is­sues that need to be ad­dressed by some­one from our rows who have ex­pe­ri­enced what it means to be a woman in to­day’s world.

“I’d rather use the term ‘equal op­por­tu­ni­ties’ in­stead of ‘fem­i­nism,’” newly elected Fed­eral Coun­cil Karin KellerSut­ter told the me­dia, adding that the state should guar­an­tee the ac­cess to equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for all peo­ple.

The truth is, fe­male lead­ers are as ef­fec­tive as their male coun­ter­parts. In fe­male-dom­i­nated set­tings, a fe­male boss might even be more ef­fec­tive, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion – which would also ex­plain why the only suc­cess­ful large re­form of the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion was the turn­around in en­ergy pol­icy, achieved in 2011 when women con­sti­tuted the ma­jor­ity of the Swiss gov­ern­ment for that year.

De­cem­ber 5, the day when the Swiss Par­lia­ment elected two fe­male Fed­eral Coun­cils, shall be­come a sym­bol for girls and women to stand up for them­selves and de­fend their val­ues and in­ter­ests, it will en­cour­age them for po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment or to take a lead­er­ship role in their neigh­bor­hood, com­pany, or fam­ily. This is our time. Women around the world, let’s take this op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­ni­ties we live in!

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