Massive gender inequality persists worldwide. Discrimination against women is an obstacle to sustainable development and economic growth in developing countries. Equal rights, a life of dignity, and the enjoyment of basic human rights regardless of gender are still not a reality for many people. Switzerland is working for the economic and political empowerment of women and girls, and for the prevention of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence.
Switzerland and partners are working for gender equality and women's rights in all of their projects and programmes under the International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24. Switzerland's international cooperation activities seek the economic and political empowerment of women and girls, and the prevention of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence.
Gender inequality: an obstacle to sustainable development
Women are an important factor in sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. Patriarchal traditions, precarious working conditions and lack of social security prevent them from developing their potential. Working together to implement Switzerland's International Cooperation Strategy, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD) are committed to equal rights and opportunities and involve both women and men in all activities to improve gender equality. All of Switzerland's international cooperation efforts promote legislation and social change to raise women's standing and give them access to healthcare, education, leadership roles, finance and economic opportunities. They also seek to improve women's incomes and their influence in social, political and economic decision-making processes.
Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence against displaced women and girls is on the rise. All such acts, including rape, intimate partner violence, early and forced marriage, sexual exploitation and abuse, and physical or psychological violence, are a serious violation of a person's human rights. Protection from sexual and other forms of gender-based violence is a priority for the SDC.