Strengthening gender equality and women’s rights

Through its international cooperation Switzerland is actively engaged in promoting gender equality in the social, economic and political spheres.   Switzerland believes that men and women should participate in all processes as equals, as prescribed in the Sustainable Development Goals.

It goes without saying that women who enjoy equal rights are better educated, are in better health, and have better access to land, employment and financial resources. Promoting the emancipation of women is therefore of paramount importance in view of the fact that they are agents for development in both their households and their communities.

Switzerland’s international cooperation aims to achieve gender equality while taking into account the different roles and needs of women and men. Three priority areas of action guide its activities:

  • Switzerland works to ensure the right of women and girls to a life free of all forms of violence as well as their rights with regard to sexual and reproductive health. It is especially active in strengthening the rights of women and girls in fragile contexts and situations of armed conflict. Several projects aim to increase the engagement of men and boys in ensuring gender equality and preventing violence.
  • Switzerland is also active in empowering women economically. It promotes access for women to basic education and vocational training programmes as well as to natural resources, markets and services.
  • Switzerland is looking for ways to increase women’s participation in decision-making processes and in the management of public affairs at both the local and national levels. Women must be able to participate on an equal basis with men in state-building. Their contribution to democratisation and peace is very often decisive.

Gender equality is an overarching theme of Switzerland’s international cooperation projects. Switzerland is also active in ensuring compliance with the rules and standards adopted at the international level in the area of women’s rights, based on information gathered in the field.