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Press release, 09.03.2020

The UN's member states have adopted a political declaration at a meeting in New York of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) marking the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The member states recognise that progress has been made in many areas, but note that no country has fully achieved gender equality and significant gender gaps remain around the world. In the negotiations leading up to the political declaration, Switzerland succeeded in championing its priority themes, including human rights, the involvement of civil society, combating gender-related and domestic violence, the economic empowerment of women, equal pay, better recognition of unpaid care work and the need for reliable statistics and data.

Structural barriers to gender equality remain in every country. Poverty, economic inequality and discriminatory practices and laws pose major challenges for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. All UN member states are called upon to give women a full and equal say in decision-making at all levels and in all areas of society. This is key to the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Switzerland implements the Beijing Platform for Action

The gender pay gap remains above 31% worldwide. Women's monthly pay in Switzerland is on average CHF 1,455 below men's (2016). Some 44% of this pay gap cannot be attributed to objective criteria and is potentially due to gender-based wage discrimination. Switzerland has taken two significant steps towards achieving equal pay for women and men by joining the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) and amending the Gender Equality Act. To mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, Switzerland will also organise the 8th World Forum on Gender Statistics on 15 and 16 October. This forum will provide an opportunity to discuss ways to improve data on gender equality policies, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Switzerland has also been very active in combating violence against women in recent years. Domestic violence claims a person's life every two weeks in Switzerland. Most of the victims are women. Switzerland is also a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

At the international level, Switzerland supports numerous programmes to promote women's economic empowerment and political participation and to prevent gender-based violence, and thereby contributes to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

64th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women 2020

The CSW is the UN's leading body for the promotion of gender equality. In addition to the official high-level delegations, typically consisting of over 100 ministers, some 5,000 representatives of civil society generally attend the CSW session. Switzerland was elected to sit on the CSW as a voting member for the 2020–24 period.

The CSW was to hold its 64th session over a two-week period, marking a significant anniversary: the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace held in Beijing 25 years ago. On that occasion, 189 states adopted the Beijing Declaration and a Platform for Action to advance gender equality and the economic empowerment of women worldwide. The measures adopted in Beijing included efforts to alleviate poverty and promote education, health and the position of women in the workplace, and to protect women and girls from violence in the home and during armed conflict.

In view of the global COVID-19 outbreak, the originally planned session has been reduced to a smaller procedural session to be held today. Representatives of the UN member states' permanent missions in New York will attend this session without the participation of delegations from the respective countries. All scheduled plenary sessions and side events have been cancelled.

Further information:

UN WOMEN – 64th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (en)
Women’s Human Rights App (en)
Twitter: CH Gender Equality
Twitter: Switzerland UN
Switzerland's national report (in French)
Federal Office for Gender Equality (FOGE)
FDFA strategy on gender equality and women's rights
SDC – Gender equality
YouTube NY Gleichheit Frauen

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

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