Gender Quotas Database

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Western Europe

Switzerland has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 81 of 200 (41%) seats in the Nationalrat - conseil national - consiglio nazionale - national council are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of parliament Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas

For the Single / Lower house? No
For the Upper house? No
For the Sub-national level? No

Are there voluntary quotas?

Adopted by political parties? Yes
Is there additional information? Yes

Single / Lower House

Nationalrat - conseil national - consiglio nazionale - national council

Upper House

Ständerat - Conseil des Etats - Consiglio degli Stati / Council of States

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional information

Constitutional quota regulations were proposed in 1996 and 2000, but not passed.

A federal popular initiative was proposed in 1996 to amend the constitution in order to promote "the equitable representation of women in federal bodies". The proposals included various provisions for the different federal authorities, the National Council, the Council of States, The Federal Council and the Federal Tribunal.

For the National Council, it was proposed that the difference between the number of women and men representing each canton could not be greater than one. For the Council of States, it was proposed that each canton elects two MPs, one women and one man. The Federal Council, composed of seven members, would have at least three women.

'The Swiss parliament has approved a government proposal calling for better representation of women at the top echelons of large publicly-traded companies. It requires companies to set aside at least 30% of positions in the boards of directors and 20% in the executive boards for women over the next five and ten years respectively. '(Swissinfo, 2019)


Legal Sources:

  • Constitution of Switzerland (amended through 2023) - Link
  • Federal Act on Political Rights (amended through 2022) - Link

Other Sources:

Additional reading

  • Frech, E., Goet, N., & Hug, S. (2019). The Politics of Legislative Debate in Switzerland.
  • See the latest updates on Switzerland on iKNOW Politics
  • UN Women, 2021. Switzerland: Together we can.
  • Bornatici, C., Gauthier, J., & Le Goff, J. 2020. Changing attitudes towards gender equality in Switzerland (2000-2017): Period, cohort and life-course effects. Swiss Journal of Sociology,46(3), pp.559-585
  • Sgier, L. 2001. ‘Analysing Gender Quota Policies: France and Switzerland.’ Paper presented at the ECPR General Conference, University of Kent at Canterbury, Kent, UK, September 6-8.
  • Wuthrich, A. 2000. ‘Le principe des quotas féminins est-il compatible avec la démocratie suisse?’ Temps. 21 February.
  • Wisler, D. 1999. ‘Parité politique: la diffusion d’un principe’, Swiss Political Science
    Review, 5, 1: 110–14.
  • Arioli, K. 1998. ‘Die Schweizerische Debatte um die Einführung von Frauenquoten in der Politik’ (The Swiss Debate on Introducing Quotas for Women in Politics). Swiss Political Science Review, 4(2), pp. 131-137.

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