New platform for equal opportunities networking in Switzerland

Institutional Communication Service

2 July 2020

The Swiss Association of Equal Opportunities Delegates of Swiss Universities and Federal Institutes of Technology launches today the new website IDEAS - Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Association of Swiss Universities, which already features in its name the priorities and objectives of the project. We discuss this with Gloria Dagnino, head of USI Equal Opportunities Service and member of the association.

IDEAS, with headquarters in Bern, brings together the equal opportunities delegates of the ten universities and the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology.  The new platform aims at becoming a point of reference for information on ongoing initiatives and projects on equal opportunities at the federal level (www.association-ideas.ch) and is based on three keywords: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

"The aim of this platform is to create a network between the various language regions, foster exchange and offer support. Our main objective is to promote real gender equality. We are committed to making equal opportunities, inclusion and diversity a reality in all universities and at all levels" explains Gloria Dagnino, head of USI Equal Opportunities Service.

In recent months all the Swiss Higher Education institutions met virtually and compared notes to define the projects to be submitted to Swissuniversities for the four-year period 2021-2024. USI will participate with a new action plan for equal opportunities that aims to strengthen what has been done so far, but also to open up more decisively to new issues. "At the federal level - explains Gloria Dagnino - the cooperation projects currently under discussion focus on the themes of diversity and inclusion. In particular, as far as we are concerned, in addition to continuing the work in support of women's academic careers, the theme of support for disability, neurodiversity and the psychological wellbeing of students and employees will also be at the core of our work".

The platform launched on 1 July. On that same day an amendment came into force, requiring companies with more than one hundred employees to verify the effective application of the law on equal pay for men and women. "The entry into force of this law does not take us unprepared - continues Dagnino - A few months ago we started a collaboration with Equi-Lab, an association that works at a cantonal level to offer advice on projects concerning the work-family balance and the valorisation of gender differences, for the implementation of USI's first gender balance sheet". It is an important step in evaluating the effectiveness of the measures implemented so far and planning new ones, as well as an instrument of transparency and accountability for the benefit of both the USI community and the authorities and general public. "We are pleased to point out that, from a gender budgeting point of view, which will be published in 2021, USI is the forerunner in the Swiss universities landscape" concludes Dagnino.

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