Constitutional task

I go to the “salarium” when I hire employees. That’s not a typing error and it’s not about tanned skin or trying to get close. It’s about money. To be more precise, wages. The Federal Statistical Office conducts wage structure surveys among 750,000 Swiss employees in order to make these data available to the public in aggregated form. In the wage calculator of Father State I can look up how I pay my people compared to the industry, or: how much I want to pay my people when they start working. This is wage transparency across company boundaries! And that is precisely where a much-discussed issue becomes apparent: The wage differences between men and women. With the same age, education, place of work, years of service, working hours, management level, wages are shown separately for men and women and it becomes clear that women earn structurally less with completely identical parameters. Thus the Federal Statistical Office cements the status quo with destructive precision. Every woman who wants to earn as much as her equal husband is shown by the state that her demand is excessive. Because she is “only” a woman.

“ADVANCE Women in Swiss Business” is an association of more than 70 large partner companies that work for the inclusion of women at all levels of the economy.

Hundreds of executives met in the auditorium of the University of Zurich on Women’s Day. A key sentence of the event on the 8th of March was the statement: “Diversity is a fact – inclusion is a choice”. The facts are proven, we now have the choice of how we want to deal with them: we communicate wages separately and thus further encourage wage differences, or we decide to compile statistics on all employees and thus provide both sexes with the same reference value. In her book “what works – gender equality by design”, Harvard Professor Dr. Iris Bohnet uses concrete examples to describe how we can change our framework conditions and processes so that injustices can be reversed. Making the “salarium” gender-neutral is a pragmatic and easily implementable measure for more justice. It is a constitutional mandate, nota bene. Let us make an attempt at rapprochement.

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