Women twice as likely as men to slip below Swiss poverty line post-divorce

Bern, Switzerland (Le Matin/ats, Fre) – Women in Switzerland are twice as likely as men to fall below the poverty line after a marriage breaks up, according to information released by the federal office for women’s affairs. The department is arguing for several changes to the law. It cites several instances of unfair practice, generally due to traditional roles in Switzerland of the man as breadwinner and the woman as stay-at-home mother. Among them:

  • social services can demand that a divorced woman’s family come to her financial aid rather than her ex-husband
  • a woman whose financial situation improves must repay any social services she received; her ex-husband is not asked to participate
  • the amount of money awarded for child care is often inadequate
  • when a couple divorces the alimony settlement should, under the law, cover a pension fund for the ex-wife but this is frequently not calculated in the settlement.

Federal office press release