Switzerland: women must work longer

In a referendum on the weekend, the Swiss voted by a razor-thin majority of 51 percent in favour of raising the retirement age for women from 64 to 65, thus bringing it in line with that for men. The government campaigned for the reform on the grounds that more baby boomers are reaching retirement age and life expectancy is also rising, increasing the burden on the pension system. Should gender equality reforms that favour women, such as wage adjustments, now also be addressed?

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

A bitter battle of the sexes

Switzerland is apparently only interested in gender equality when it comes to burden sharing, the Süddeutsche Zeitung criticises:

“In Switzerland external childcare is still a luxury that most families can only afford a few days a week. ... Swiss women receive less than 67 percent of the average man's pension. Not to mention many other hair-raising details. For example, Swiss women have to work until they give birth because there is no maternity leave. ... According to pre-referendum polls, an overwhelming majority of men voted for the increase and almost two-thirds of women voted against it. In the end, 0.57 percent of the vote tipped the scales. A bitter battle of the sexes.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Ready for the necessary changes

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung is already calling for further reforms of the pension fund:

“September 25, 2022, will go down in the history of Swiss pension provisions - as a good day. Seventy-five years after the founding of the AHV [Old Age and Survivors' Insurance], the majority is proving that it is willing to adapt the social welfare system to the demands of the present and to accept disadvantages in order to do so. ... There is still a lot of work to do. Despite the reform that has now been passed, new deficits in the pay-as-you-go financing of the AHV still loom from 2029 on.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Take the men by their word

The Tages-Anzeiger now sees the need for reforms in women's policy:

“An extremely narrow majority of voters want to stabilise the AHV financially and align the reference age for women and men. This is the right move. ... Nevertheless, the opponents of the AHV reform have a point. Some supporters, including many middle-class men, have argued behind closed doors: I'm all for equality, but also when women lose out! It is now their duty to stand by their words. And they must do so in areas where women are really very disadvantaged today.”