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U. S. Embassy Bilateral Project “Sister Republics: Building Bridges – An Action Plan for Women’s Leadership” releases Comparative Study of Gender Workplace issues in Switzerland and the United States (Feb 24, 2012)

On March 6, 2012, in Bern, the U.S. Embassy releases a study comparing workplace issues affecting women in both Switzerland and the United States. The report includes original research from a poll of over 1,000 Swiss workers.

The report, "Gender Equality in Employment: Policies and Practices in Switzerland and the U.S.", was prepared by the George Washington University Global Women's Initiative. The exhaustive research includes a comparative analysis of attitudes, culture and best practices concerning women in the workforce. "The work of GW went far beyond our expectations and provides a clear picture of strengths and challenges for women in each country." said U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Donald Beyer.

The release of the report comes in advance of the second “Sister Republics: Building Bridges” bilateral conference on March 7, 2012, bringing women leaders in both countries together to find practical solutions to common issues. The event is made possible by generous support from Swiss companies SwissRe, Novartis, Zurich Financial, Nagra, and ABB.

The United States and Switzerland are often referred to as “Sister Republics” because they collaborated with each other as they developed bicameral legislatures, constitutional documents and the systems of states and cantons.

As U.S. Ambassador Donald S. Beyer Jr. stated, “When the founding fathers initiated the “Sister Republics” relationship between our two countries, they did not really take the sisters into account. This bilateral effort, bringing together women from the White House, the Federal Council, and major corporations in both our countries can put our collaboration to creating opportunities for women in the future- and that’s good for both our economies.”

Megan Beyer, a journalist, chairs the project. She was a leader of “Women for Obama” in 2008, and for five years was a regular panelist on the national PBS public affairs program, To the Contrary, addressing issues affecting women. “The issues we discussed on To The Contrary are the same issues working women struggle with here in Switzerland,” she noted, ”primarily a stubborn glass ceiling and problems balancing work and family.”

Among this year’s attendees coming from America are President Barack Obama’s most recent Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, Melody Barnes; the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ellen Moran; the just retired Under Secretary of State and former CEO of Discovery Television Network Judith McHale; New York Times Best Selling Author Mary Holt; Pulitzer-nominated New York Times Journalist Ann Crittenden; former White House Director of Communications Anita Dunn; and OPI Nails founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann.

Swiss attendees include Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova; Isabelle Welton, CEO of IBM Switzerland Ltd.; Monika Walser, CEO of Freitag lab AG; Lisa Feldmann, Editor-in-Chief of Annabelle Magazine; President of MMG Christina Müller-Möhl; Nicole Schwab of the Gender Equality Project; and Swiss Television’s Christine Maier.

Participants will be asked to provide feedback and recommend actions on a range of issues like Corporate Gender Certification, Flexible Work Schedule Policies, Mentoring, Child Care Structures at Work, and Quotas.

The conference takes place the morning of March 7 at 8:00am at the Bernerhof, a wing of the Federal Parliament building in Bern. Except for work-group sessions, the conference is open to the press.  The U.S. Embassy can arrange one-on-one interviews with conference participants immediately following the conference, during a networking lunch at the Bellevue Palace.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012, at 13:30:

13:30 –
Press Conference

Wednesday, March 7, 2012:

08:00 –
Conference “Sister Republics: Building Bridges – An Action Plan for Women’s Leadership”:

13:00 –
Networking Lunch with interview possibilities



For credentials, please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy ( by 3pm on Monday, March 5, 2012.


For advance interview requests, as well as questions or further information, please feel free to contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy (