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  #101  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:09
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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I agree with MusicChick that ripples cost money. Changing the way things work would be very expensive and have an outward affect as well. If children don't come home for lunch, women could work. If they work, but lose their jobs, they'll ask for unemployment. on it goes..
I think it's the same everywhere really, but each place has different issues. For example, I can't believe how many people are against health care plans in the US because they think it will cost them money. I know people who can't afford insurance, but don't want things changed because they think it will turn into some disaster, tax eating mess.
Yeah, I thought that was a great point (that ripples don't happen because they cost money). But to be honest, I guess I don't understand why a country as rich and economically stable as Switzerland is so paranoid about having to spend some money in order for changes to happen... ?
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  #102  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:12
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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  #103  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:22
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Yeah, I thought that was a great point (that ripples don't happen because they cost money). But to be honest, I guess I don't understand why a country as rich and economically stable as Switzerland is so paranoid about having to spend some money in order for changes to happen... ?
Maybe, maybe it's because you don't speak any local language and have no clue what's going on politically in Switzerland?
Most Swiss would simply have no clue what you're talking about; it's expensive to implement change therefore we stick to what we've always done? Maybe I'm a bit daft but I can't think of a single issue where that was an argument, not one, but please, surely you're more informed, enlighten me.

As far as I know we almost legalized marihuana, we endorsed research on humans, we voted for a higher VAT to fund the gap in the IV, we voted for alternative medicine, we voted for the continuation of Schengen and an extension to Bulgaria and Romania and so on... so what exactly are you talking about? Does that sounds like a country afraid of change?

What I'm trying to say is that reality is infinitely more complex than the simple perception most people have of Switzerland, both positive and negative, and some adjust reality to their stereotypes more than they do the opposite. I'm just trying to give the other perspective.
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  #104  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:35
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Maybe, maybe it's because you don't speak any local language and have no clue what's going on politically in Switzerland?
Most Swiss would simply have no clue what you're talking about; it's expensive to implement change therefore we stick to what we've always done? Maybe I'm a bit daft but I can't think of a single issue where that was an argument, not one, but please, surely you're more informed, enlighten me.

As far as I know we almost legalized marihuana, we endorsed research on humans, we voted for a higher VAT to fund the gap in the IV, we voted for alternative medicine, we voted for the continuation of Schengen and an extension to Bulgaria and Romania and so on... so what exactly are you talking about? Does that sounds like a country afraid of change?
Yeah, Swiss politics is certainly not my forte. But I guess that's why I ask questions when I do...

As for why I believe (rather, suspect) that Switzerland is a country afraid of change is because it's my understanding that Switzerland is known to be rather conservative in the sense that political progress/change is quite slow to occur here. Even quite a few Swiss have admitted that to me (including my husband). So while I know that I shouldn't go by hearsay, I guess I just assumed that someone who was born and raised here probably knows a lot more about Swiss politics than I do (particularly since, again, it's certainly not at the top of my list of interests).
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  #105  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:49
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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So while I know that I shouldn't go by hearsay, I guess I just assumed that someone who was born and raised here probably knows a lot more about Swiss politics than I do (particularly since, again, it's certainly not at the top of my list of interests).
Thanks for being honest, but you'll appear a bit ignorant if you don't just believe hearsay, but actually repeat and insist on it without really knowing anything of the topic at hand. Again, no offence, just passing my last 15 minutes in the office with a bit of banter. Have a nice WE you all!
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  #106  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:58
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

Its strange I work in the health care industry and to claim for the AVS you have to fill out a form. Interestingly enough if youre a woman you have to fill out a completely separate section giving all the information about your husband. If youre a man you dont have to fill out anything about your wife.

Go figure
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  #107  
Old 01.07.2011, 16:59
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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have even come to learn that Switzerland is a bit infamous for being a country in which political change is very slow to occur
And thankfully so, as change is rarely for the better!

Tom
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  #108  
Old 01.07.2011, 17:00
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Yeah, I thought that was a great point (that ripples don't happen because they cost money). But to be honest, I guess I don't understand why a country as rich and economically stable as Switzerland is so paranoid about having to spend some money in order for changes to happen... ?
Because everything is everybody's business and everybody's franc here. Really, you can vote on it, you can control the length of your neighbours weeds, etc. That means everyone has a say, and it takes longer to come to a consensus. To address childcare: There are many people in CH who find the thought of mothers leaving their children 'to be raised in a Krippe absolutely appalling'.
In their minds these woman should have chosen to be the career type and not ask the taxpayer to support their child. They get to vote too, just the same as the people who disagree and believe society is responsible for giving men and women equal career rights.
My MIL never stops having a little prod at me because I work one day per week, but she currently runs a fundraiser to support women in Africa learning trades. In her mind, women in CH don't work BECAUSE it is a rich country, and she's not about to become poor and have her grandchildren raised by strangers just so I can get out of the house.
The changes that we think are part of modern life, and should be instilled as such, are just not backed by the same culture of thought. At the same time, just go ahead and try to sunbathe topless in America. Suddenly CH is in 2011 and we are in 1950.
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  #109  
Old 01.07.2011, 17:11
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

Okay, yeah... I had wondered if the slowness (?) might be somehow due to the process of direct democracy rather than necessarily a reflection of the views of the people/government.

I know that the US isn't too quick to get things done (except of course, when it comes to invading other countries ), and I attribute much of that to the two-party "gridlock" system that's in place there.
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  #110  
Old 01.07.2011, 17:20
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Thanks for being honest, but you'll appear a bit ignorant if you don't just believe hearsay, but actually repeat and insist on it without really knowing anything of the topic at hand. Again, no offence, just passing my last 15 minutes in the office with a bit of banter. Have a nice WE you all!
But Simon... the thing is, I don't really care if I appear "a bit ignorant" because again, I openly admit that Swiss politics is not my forte. And in fact, I doubt it ever will be because I will probably always prefer to bury my face in a book about Physics rather than politics. However, I don't think that this should prohibit me from having the right to discuss politics, particularly when I try to not come across as being a self-righteous "know it all" and so set in my views that they are unable to be swayed.

Anyways, not trying to drag this out... but I refuse to not partake in political discussions simply because it's not my main area of expertise.

You have a great weekend, too!
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Old 01.07.2011, 17:43
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

[QUOTE=Carrie F;1248043]Okay, yeah... I had wondered if the slowness (?) might be somehow due to the process of direct democracy rather than necessarily a reflection of the views of the people/government.

I'm sure it's both! It's just that the US is a democracy of sorts, but decisions can be made and implemented without our vote at all (invading other countries). In CH, you can vote on all of it, so there you get to see a cross section of opinions and one can hold the other back.
I don't think you are ignorant at all by the way. I think ignorant people try to make other people look stupid because their opinion differs or their knowledge on that particular subject is less.
I can't tell you how many Swiss I've explained to that the US is not a democracy as they think of one. Many had no idea, and until I lived here, I had no idea what democracy meant to the Swiss.
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  #112  
Old 01.07.2011, 17:52
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Because everything is everybody's business and everybody's franc here. Really, you can vote on it, you can control the length of your neighbours weeds, etc. That means everyone has a say, and it takes longer to come to a consensus. To address childcare: There are many people in CH who find the thought of mothers leaving their children 'to be raised in a Krippe absolutely appalling'.
In their minds these woman should have chosen to be the career type and not ask the taxpayer to support their child. They get to vote too, just the same as the people who disagree and believe society is responsible for giving men and women equal career rights.
My MIL never stops having a little prod at me because I work one day per week, but she currently runs a fundraiser to support women in Africa learning trades. In her mind, women in CH don't work BECAUSE it is a rich country, and she's not about to become poor and have her grandchildren raised by strangers just so I can get out of the house.
The changes that we think are part of modern life, and should be instilled as such, are just not backed by the same culture of thought. At the same time, just go ahead and try to sunbathe topless in America. Suddenly CH is in 2011 and we are in 1950.
I sometimes find it endearing that there is this cavalier culture that protects their women and let them veg at home, while taking care of their babies and demonstrate their home making skills, etc etc. It's not so cute though, should the lady not decide it suits her. I think things really are changing quickly, again, not for very libertarian, or egalitarian reasons, but cash. It's pretty much the only way some families survive. I also think chicks don't only go to work for money, but because you invest in your head, you need to use it, and not only to figure out the price of diapers (it's horrendous, by the way). Independence. Things can go wrong, and while the gov does take care of the affected moms, still, you need a career to build on. 1 out of 27 men is not what I call a huge progress, though do not want to sound like a total naysayer. Also, if that 1 out of 27 males engineers or whatever, was local, locally educated, I think I would have been happier. Since it proves things really are moving here. Cosmetic things like a gay gov person in ZU does not really say much about every day situation moms with kids at home who want to work have to face. The fact there is only 4mo paid maternity leave, it is sad, since this culture, out of all, has the funds to give up more for equality, good home situ, etc. Voting, all the other issues, it is still in peoples minds. You hear it all the time, not the word "vote", but being ignored at counters, since it is the guy who is next to you and who is supposed to be making decisions. You voice your opinion, you get raised eyebrows. Male colleagues can ignore you, until you prove yourself worthy since it is sometimes expected you really aren't worth the attention. Yes, all these things are residues of old mindsets, and they will slowly fade. Like the other day, when I heard a friend questioning me wanting to move from boonies in order to pursue career (and better creche options), saying it should be the head of the family making these decisions, like it used to be legislatured. An insurer saying women shouldn't get life insurance, since they don't work, anyways. And don't want to. ugh. I heard things like why am I city hungry? Women are not happy with their kids in tiny mountain cities? Why?...So, residues. Yes. Annoying. 50s, and not even in my backwards home. 30s in my backwards home. But residues get easily shrugged off. Things are changing.
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  #113  
Old 01.07.2011, 19:14
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

OECD: Employment rates 2010 Country Employment rate (female) Iceland 79.8 Norway 75 Switzerland 74.2 Denmark 72 Sweden 71.4 Canada 70.4 Netherlands 70.1 New Zealand 69.1 Finland 67.6 Australia 67.6 Austria 67.4 United Kingdom 67.1 Germany 67.1 Japan 66.4 United States 65.2 Portugal 65 Russian Federation 64.4 Slovenia 64.1 G7 countries 64.1 Oceania 64 Estonia 62.8 North America 60.8 European Union 15 60.6 France 60.2 European Union 21 59.6 OECD countries 58.8 Israel 58.2 Luxembourg 57.6 Ireland 57.3 Czech Republic 57.1 Belgium 56.9 Korea 56.5 Europe 55.6 Poland 53.7 Spain 53.5 Slovak Republic 52.5 Hungary 51 Greece 48.8 Chile 48.5 Italy 46.6 Mexico 45.7 Turkey 26.9
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  #114  
Old 01.07.2011, 19:26
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

The above stats seem to show very well that the image where all swiss women are stay-at-home-stepford wives tending to the garden and/or the children is somewhat skewed.

I would also argue that the fact that our government has a female majority is not about pure symbolism, as these women are a) elected, fully legitimized "magistrates" b) head important "departments" (justice, finance, transport and infrastructure, foreign affairs).

I do believe however, that changes need to be made when it comes to child care, thus giving mothers better chances to work. Some cantons and communes have taken important steps in that direction, but more needs to be done IMHO.
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  #115  
Old 02.07.2011, 07:34
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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The above stats seem to show very well that the image where all swiss women are stay-at-home-stepford wives tending to the garden and/or the children is somewhat skewed.

I would also argue that the fact that our government has a female majority is not about pure symbolism, as these women are a) elected, fully legitimized "magistrates" b) head important "departments" (justice, finance, transport and infrastructure, foreign affairs).

I do believe however, that changes need to be made when it comes to child care, thus giving mothers better chances to work. Some cantons and communes have taken important steps in that direction, but more needs to be done IMHO.
Changes are made. In the canton of Berne a community has to open a "Tagesschule" if there is a demand for at least ten children. Prices vary according to the gros income of the parents from CHF 0.65 till CHF 11.20 per hour. Now the communities tackle the holidays. As these are not subsidized by the canton, they will cost considerably more, most will be at about CHF 50.00 a day. Some might think that is expensive. Well, you can't have everything, either you have low taxes or a pampering state.
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  #116  
Old 02.07.2011, 07:52
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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I also think chicks don't only go to work for money, but because you invest in your head, you need to use it, and not only to figure out the price of diapers (it's horrendous, by the way). Independence. Things can go wrong, and while the gov does take care of the affected moms, still, you need a career to build on.
I believe this too, but so far I've never had anyone from the other camp agree. The response tends to go along the lines of, well, you shouldn't have had children if you weren't ready to take care of them, and didn't have a solid relationship.
Our friends, who both work (no kids), and I've always found lovely open minded people totally shocked the hell out of me by telling me that I was selfish for going back to work, and that I would also negatively affect my husband's career by stressing everyone out.
My in laws questioned my parents on their viewpoints of woman being out of the home to see if they could use my parents to sway me away from working. My parents effectively sidestepped the questions, but were duly confused because these questions don't make sense in our culture. They just figured something was up, and the best route was retreat.
I know for a fact that not all of Switzerland agrees on the woman at home thing, but man, it hurts to be viewed in such a negative light, and be fed a steady diet of your child is suffering. By coupling advancing women's rights with the loss of their children's well-being, you've got a pretty hard argument to beat. Modern sounds bad with that spin on it.

Last edited by MusicChick; 02.07.2011 at 08:18. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 02.07.2011, 08:37
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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I believe this too, but so far I've never had anyone from the other camp agree. The response tends to go along the lines of, well, you shouldn't have had children if you weren't ready to take care of them, and didn't have a solid relationship.
Our friends, who both work (no kids), and I've always found lovely open minded people totally shocked the hell out of me by telling me that I was selfish for going back to work, and that I would also negatively affect my husband's career by stressing everyone out.
My in laws questioned my parents on their viewpoints of woman being out of the home to see if they could use my parents to sway me away from working. My parents effectively sidestepped the questions, but were duly confused because these questions don't make sense in our culture. They just figured something was up, and the best route was retreat.
I know for a fact that not all of Switzerland agrees on the woman at home thing, but man, it hurts to be viewed in such a negative light, and be fed a steady diet of your child is suffering. By coupling advancing women's rights with the loss of their children's well-being, you've got a pretty hard argument to beat. Modern sounds bad with that spin on it.
I have had a positive response to my choices to go back to work - supportive (Swiss) in-laws who are happy to step in if needed (and if they are available). Anyone who has expressed an opinion about me being a full time working mum has usually come out with the question "How do you do it?" A question I can't really answer myself - even with a great support network and full time daycare I am knackered.

My primary reason for working is not really the money, although it helps, I feel I need to keep my toe in the water because my (independent) opinion is if I am out of my industry for the 4 or 5 years until my son starts school I might as well not go back - I would be returning as a dinosaur.

Maybe it's because I am living in the bubble that is Zurich - people seem to be more forward thinking. The employers I have worked for have been pretty understanding and child-friendly, there are more daycares than you can shake a stick at (6 that I can immediately think of within 3 tram stops of our home), the schools are all offering "blockzeiten" and afternoon care so perhaps we don't encounter the same problems and attitudes as someone living out in the more rural areas.

As to whether my son is suffering I would have to say no. He's pretty well rounded and sociable plus he's learned all sorts of stuff that I couldn't have taught him. He loves meeting with other kids but can also settle down to work on something himself. In addition, we would have just spoken English with him during his pre-school years so he would have entered the Swiss school system with zero German - his German and dialect are now fine. The only disadvantage is that he's learned how to be cheeky from the older kids so I've probably had to deal with that a year or so earlier than I would have if he'd stayed home with me.
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Old 02.07.2011, 09:41
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Okay, yeah... I had wondered if the slowness (?) might be somehow due to the process of direct democracy rather than necessarily a reflection of the views of the people/government.

I know that the US isn't too quick to get things done (except of course, when it comes to invading other countries ), and I attribute much of that to the two-party "gridlock" system that's in place there.
Most of the Swiss like Switzerland the way it is and don't want to change it. They are traditionalists at heart, which is reflected in some gender issues. Fear is creeping into the Switzerland's mind resulting in a swing towards a more SVP way of thinking.

The direct democracy is an absolutely wonderful thing. Unfortunately, a lot of people are lazy or apathetic and don't vote.
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Old 02.07.2011, 09:56
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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I sometimes find it endearing that there is this cavalier culture that protects their women and let them veg at home, while taking care of their babies and demonstrate their home making skills, etc etc.
I might be wrong here but I think stay at home mothers might take exception to the rather negative assumption they "veg" at home whilst taking care of their children and home. That might have got my own mother rather aggressively smoothing her apron hem.

I think staying at home with the kids and looking after the home is, at times, probably more difficult than sitting behind a desk dealing with prima dona fund managers.

Although, I could be wrong...
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Old 02.07.2011, 10:00
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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I might be wrong here but I think stay at home mothers might take exception to the rather negative assumption they "veg" at home whilst taking care of their children and home. That might have got my own mother rather aggressively smoothing her apron hem.

I think staying at home with the kids and looking after the home is, at times, probably more difficult than sitting behind a desk dealing with prima dona fund managers.

Although, I could be wrong...
It all depends on your support system. It's fine when the kids are small but when they start hitting secondary school, mothers suddenly find themselves with too much time and are frustrated with how hard it is to find a part time job again.
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