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No Country for Moms

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and while being a mother does have its pleasures and rewards, these are less in Switzerland than in other countries. A recent study by the American Children’s Organization “Save the Children” titled the Mother Index 2011 has placed Swiss moms in 15th place on a ranking of happiness. 


The happiest mothers are found in Norway and Australia followed by Iceland and Sweden. While the Nordic countries seem to be getting it right, Switzerland is lagging behind. Important criteria for the ranking were: women’s health, education, political participation and wages. On average a woman in Switzerland earns just 62% of the wage a man does, whereas in Norway that number jumps to 80%.


These statistics have female Swiss politicians worried. Social Democratic Party (SP) representative Evi Allemamm admits that, “In regards to wage equality and balance between family and career for women, Switzerland is extremely behind the European average.” She is currently looking for a daycare (Kinderkrippe) space for her four-month-old son. Federal Democratic Party (FDP) women’s president Carmen Walker Späh believes that. “Switzerland must finally acknowledge that working mothers add value to our society.”


While many women and political parties view the latest results as a wake up call for Switzerland, Hans Fehr of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) believes that the findings are unfair and reward countries that do not place the responsibility of raising children on the parents. “Switzerland is being punished for protecting family life, while other countries are being rewarded for doing the opposite.”

Written by: Christian Langenegger, co-founder of Marathon Sprachen


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