Fiscal policies and social transfer measures hold the potential to improve the compatibility of paid work and family commitments. But cantonal authorities do not sufficiently consider the available knowledge. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the National Research Programme “Gender Equality” (NRP 60).
Gender equality is affected by policies in many areas, one of which is fiscal policy. Switzerland's federal system makes it difficult to fully understand the impacts of fiscal policy and social transfer mechanisms, such as social benefits, health insurance support payments and child-care subsidies on single parents or couples with children.
The regulations vary from one canton to the other. Generally, there are financial disadvantages for couples who share paid work. This is problematic both in terms of gender equality and economic policy. Coordinated fiscal policies and social transfer mechanisms hold the potential of improving the compatibility of family and paid work as well as boosting gender equality in the job market and the family.
Limited awareness of latest results
In the context of the National Research Programme "Gender Equality" (NRP 60), researchers from the University of Lucerne and the consulting firm Interface undertook a novel analysis: they wanted to know how information gained by research impacts on legislative processes in the areas of fiscal policy and social transfer mechanisms.
After analysing 60 policy changes between 2008 and 2011 and conducting structured interviews with cantonal experts, they evaluated to what degree the latest scientific insights were considered by the authorities formulating new regulations. They focused on legislative processes which influence gender equality in the sense of improving the balance of paid work and family life.
The researchers discovered that the cantonal authorities made an assessment of the impact of each policy change, although only half of these assessments focused on questions relevant to gender equality. Reports by external experts were commissioned only in 7 out of the 60 legislative processes.
In 44 cases, colleagues from other cantonal authorities were consulted. Political scientist Andreas Balthasar has identified two laws which exemplify how information relevant to gender equality can be taken into account: the law on family-support institutions in the Canton of Fribourg and the revised fiscal law in the Canton of Uri (both 2011).
Reaching out to politics
Interestingly, about half of the offices responsible for the legislative process indicated that they were aware of studies relevant to gender equality. But there is little sign that the arguments of these studies came to bear on the legislative process. On the basis of this, the researchers have concluded that scientists need to make their results more transparent and offer information geared specifically to policymakers.
In addition, they recommend that the administrative authorities participate more strongly in the legislative process, i.e. that they get involved in finding solutions and not only execute political decisions. It would also make sense if cantonal gender equality experts were consulted more frequently on legislative processes. Balthasar believes that there are approximately twenty opportunities per year to address gender equality issues at cantonal level.
The researchers have compiled a brochure of 30 relevant studies on the subject. It is available in German and French.
Hard copies can be ordered from the Department of Political Science of the University of Lucerne: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof Andreas Balthasar
Department of Political Science
University of Lucerne
+41 41 226 04 26
The study results and the text of this press release can be found on the website of NRP 60 (www.nfp.60 > Projects > Cluster 3 > Balthasar) as well as on the website of the Swiss National Science Foundation (http://www.snsf.ch > Research in Focus > Media > Press releases).
Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine