Swiss Federal Equal Opportunity at Universities Program

The Swiss Federal Equal Opportunity at Universities Program has promoted gender equality at Swiss universities since the year 2000.

For the years 2013–2016, the Swiss federal government dedicated CHF 10 million for the universtities’ gender equality actions. Pending decisions by the Swiss University Conference and the United Federal Assembly,  the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation oversaw the disposition of the funds to the universities through the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities. Universities receiving federal funding had to dedicate matching funds for their gender equality actions (usually 50% over the four-year period).

Goal

The goal of the federal program was 25% women professors at Swiss universities, with 40% at the level of assistant professorships, as well as an increased proportion of women in academic leadership positions at universities and related institutions.

Action Plans

For the years 2013-16 the federal government only provided funding for gender equality actions on the basis of the universitites’ individual action plans, which had to address the issue of gender equality on a structural level in all key areas of activity: teaching, research and community service. The documents Guidelines 03/12 and Standards for Action Plans 53/11 outline the frames of reference for the action plans.

Domains for Action in the Action Plans

According to Standards for Action Plans 53/11, the following domains were eligible for funding:

  1. Establishment of gender equality in the university structures and as part of quality management
  2. Women professors (including assistant professors), women in academic leadership positions
  3. Training for PhD students and postdocs
  4. Work-life integration with respect to studying at university, pursuing an academic career, family and personal/private responsibilities
  5. Women and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)
  6. Human resources and organizational development
  7. Integrating gender competence into teaching and learning as well as into research