Work inequalities related to gender and ethnicity


Women experience inequality in the labour market in various ways and intensities depending on their ethnicity/nationality. This study aims at providing an empirically sound understanding of how gender and ethnicity intersect to generate gender inequalities in the labour market.

Project description (completed research project)

At present we still do not have a complete and differentiated understanding of how and why gender inequalities in the Swiss labour market persist. Three areas in particular need to be addressed:

  1. how the intersection of gender and ethnicity/national origin generates unequal access to paid work,
  2. the extent to which women succeed in applying, maintaining and further developing their professional qualifications in the labour market,
  3. the strategies that they devise to counteract hurdles they face in the labour market and apply and acquire new professional qualifications.


Using a comparative perspective, this project aims to address the three areas presented above regarding both women of Swiss and non-Swiss origin that have vocational training or university education. The study combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Beyond statistical analysis of the 2009 Labour Force Survey, the methods of study include expert interviews, MINGA workshops and biographical interviews. The latter will be carried out with both members of couple households in order to understand how the professional careers of the man and the woman evolve before and after having children.

Original title

Understanding Inequalities in the Labour Market: The Intersection of Gender and Ethnicity

Project leader(s)

  • Prof. Doris Wastl-Walter, Geographisches Institut (GIUB), Universität Bern
  • PD Dr. Yvonne Riaño, GIUB, Universität Bern
  • Dr. Elisabeth Bühler, Geographisches Institut, Universität Zürich
  • André Aschwanden, GIUB, Universität Bern
  • Katharina Limacher, GIUB, Universität Bern



Further information on this content


PD Dr. Yvonne Riaño Geographisches Institut Universität Bern Hallerstrasse 12 3012 Bern +41 31 631 88 64

Products of the project