In the Swiss canton of Vaud more and more mothers work. The traditional model, where dad worked and mum looked after the home and the kids, now feels like it’s from another time. In Vaud, 77% of mothers with young children worked in 2014. This figure hides something though: only a minority were the main bread winner, and most worked part time.
In 1970 the portion of mothers at home with children under 7 years old was 72%. Only 28% worked. Now it’s the opposite. Only 25% are staying at home. And the percentage drops to 20% once the youngest child is between 7 and 14 years old.
Of those mothers working outside the home however, less than 30% work full time. The overall portion of Vaud’s workforce working full time is 46%. “It is still women’s careers that are secondary. This flows from the view that a man’s salaries is the primary source of income while a woman’s is a nice addition” said Magaly Hanselmann, head of the Vaud office for equality for men and women.
The canton of Vaud is well ahead of the Swiss national average when it comes to the percentages of time women work. 78% of Vaud mums work between 50 and 100%, compared to around 60% nationally. “One explanation for this cantonal difference avanced by some is the greater access to childcare found in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland compared to the German-speaking part” said Magaly Hanselmann.
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In contrast, only 7% of fathers between the ages of 25 and 54 work part time. “Unfortunately the number of men working part time is low. It is changing, but very slowly” said Magaly Hanselmann. And it’s not due to a lack of desire. “Men want to spend more time with their children”. A study of young managers working for the canton shows that they see themselves living lives where domestic tasks are shared equally. “Because a better split of unpaid domestic work is positive” she adds.
Statistics show that three quarters of men working part time would prefer a full time position, Magaly Hanselmann thinks this is misleading. “It’s still difficult for men to ask for a part time job. It’s a part of an unspoken work culture. It can be viewed as a lack of ambition” she concludes.