Leaders for Equality

Leaders for Equality: Leaders seize opportunities

Achieving gender equality is an organisational development process. And gender equality needs men - more precisely: male leaders. 

We research how male leaders are involved in gender equality issues and how they can actively shape gender equality. 

We support companies and administrations in getting managers excited about gender equality. Leaders seize opportunities - with our toolbox and through our advisory services. Tap the potential of male managers for your gender equality work and thus increase the proportion of women in management positions!


Here you will find event information, new blog posts, current topics and news from our project.

"We are Leaders for Equality"

The following companies and organizations are already actively working with us to promote gender equality by involving male managers.

Join us! 

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) consists of the Defence Group and the six federal offices: General Secretariat, Federal Intelligence Service, Armaments (armasuisse), Topography (swisstopo), Civil Protection and Sport. The head of the DDPS is Federal Councillor Viola Amherd. The DDPS employs around 12,500 people.

The DDPS is strongly committed to diversity. Currently, the focus is on gender equality and increasing the proportion of women. Multilingualism, professional integration of people with disabilities, work-life balance and cooperation between different generations are also promoted. The goal is clear: to create an appreciative and inclusive culture for all.

"Equality is also a question of culture and values. Leaders play a key role in fostering a respectful, open and trusting culture and in creating an environment where all people with different characters, ways of thinking and living feel welcome."

Sabine Lehner, DDPS Diversity Management Officer (2022)

Feller AG is the leading Swiss technology partner for the electrical installation industry. Anyone who lives in Switzerland knows our switches and sockets. Timeless in design and of the highest quality, they accompany people throughout their lives. We have been developing and producing top-quality products in Horgen for over 100 years and are a renowned employer in the Lake Zurich region. Our core business is complemented by innovative electronic products and system solutions in building automation, home networks and electrical distribution. Around 420 employees are committed to this every day. 

Feller is part of Schneider Electric, one of the world's leading specialists for digital transformation in the fields of energy management and automation. Schneider Electric offers intelligent solutions for the private household, building technology and data centre segments, as well as for infrastructure providers and industry. With more than 140,000 employees and operations in over 100 countries, Schneider Electric is a global leader in energy management, medium and low voltage, secure power and automation. We offer integrated efficiency solutions that seamlessly combine energy, automation and software.

In Switzerland, the Schneider Electric Group owns the companies Schneider Electric (Schweiz) AG and Feller AG, as well as the technology brands APC and Gutor Electronic, and employs more than 1,000 people.

"One of our values at Schneider Electric is "Embrace different - diversity sets us apart". We stand 100% for integration. Discrimination is not tolerated at our company. We believe in equal opportunities for everyone, everywhere. We see gender- and age-mixed teams as an important success factor for our company. That is why we also actively promote the further development of women and offer very good conditions for reconciling professional and private life with our global Flex@Work Policy. We are on board with the study because increasing the proportion of women is an ongoing challenge for us as a technology company, and we want to exploit all reasonable opportunities in this regard. We expect the study to provide us with new starting points and ideas, also through the involvement of our managers, on how we can move forward together there."

Dr Rasmus Oertel, HR Director, Schneider Electric Switzerland (2019)

Helvetia Versicherungen, headquartered in St.Gallen, has grown over the past 160 years into a successful, internationally active insurance group. Today, Helvetia is the leading Swiss all-line insurer in Switzerland. Over 6500 employees provide services to more than 5 million customers every day. 

"Helvetia respects and promotes the diversity and uniqueness of its employees. The different views lead to positive friction and innovative ideas. We are convinced that with a gender-diverse management, we can strengthen Helvetia as an agile, customer-centric and innovative company and achieve the set goals as a result. That is why we want to increase the number of women in management positions. We hope the study will provide us with concrete starting points on how to mobilize managers and thus jointly advance the issue of diversity." 

Hans-Caspar Schegg, Head HR Business Partner International & 
Manuela Bärtsch Forster, Diversity Officer (2019)

IDEAS is the association of the gender equality officers of the ten Swiss universities and the two federal universities. IDEAS is committed to promoting real gender equality and implementing equal opportunities, inclusion and diversity at all levels of higher education. 

Our motivation: Why is there still a leaky pipeline at our universities and is the proportion of women at professorship level only increasing very slowly? Since an important hinge is the hiring processes at universities, IDEAS wanted to explore with Leaders for Equality the extent to which male professors, who are in the majority there, are committed to equality.

"I very much welcome the fact that this so important topic was investigated as part of a national survey of all universities and ETHs. The analysis confirms the need to mobilise more men to commit to equality through concrete actions."

Prof. Yves Flückiger, Rector of the University of Geneva (2023)

"The promotion of young female scientists in particular is a central task at universities. At the University of Bern, we therefore attach great importance to conscientious supervision of research work and also to so-called protected research time, which young researchers can claim. But it is also important to promote women later in their careers. As Rector, it is my task to repeatedly approach women for leadership positions and to motivate them. I am very pleased that there are now two women in the university leadership and that my successor will be a woman."

Prof. Christian Leumann, Rector of the University of Bern (2022)

"It can be observed that reservations are still great when it comes to putting this into practice. In order to implement a real gender equality policy, it is necessary that professors also enforce concrete measures, for example citing more female colleagues or refusing to participate in all-male panels. It is also important to encourage women at the same hierarchical level to apply for leadership positions and at the same time to dispel the prejudice that equality and performance do not go together."

Prof. Liliane Michalik, Vice-Rector Equality, Diversity and Careers of the University of Lausanne (2022)

The Migros Ostschweiz cooperative is one of the largest of a total of ten regional cooperatives in the Migros Group. It has its headquarters in Gossau SG. Its economic area covers the cantons of SG, AI, AR, TG, GR, SH and ZH as well as the Principality of Liechtenstein. The company operates very successfully in the supermarket, specialist store and food service sectors, as well as in the education and leisure sectors, and employs around 10,000 people of over 90 nationalities.

"With women making up around 63% of the total workforce, Migros is "feminine". At the same time, the proportion of women in management positions is significantly lower and even decreases as the hierarchy level rises. And this is despite the equal opportunities stipulated in the Migros Group's national collective labor agreement and despite measures to improve the compatibility of career and family. 

Migros Ostschweiz aims to significantly increase the proportion of women in management positions at all management levels. That is why the "Leaders for Equality" project of the University of St.Gallen comes in very handy for us. We hope to see concrete measures to achieve this objective. The project's underlying approach of consciously and specifically using male managers as supporters looks promising in this regard."

René Frei, Head of the Human Resources Directorate
Fabienne Wullschleger, Head of Corporate Health Management / Employee Counseling (2019)

PostFinance is one of the leading financial institutions in Switzerland and is the reliable partner for over 3 million people for private and business customers who want to manage their finances independently. Find out here what PostFinance's strategy and goals are, how the company is managed and what is important to PostFinance in terms of sustainability.

"Gender equality is a key issue for PostFinance in the context of corporate responsibility and is strategically anchored. We are already well positioned on the Board of Directors and in the Executive Board, and we aim to increase the proportion of women at lower and middle management levels. Managers are shapers of equal opportunities in the company and play a key role in achieving this goal.  The cooperation with the HSG in the context of "Leaders for Equality" provides us with important information on the perceptions, opinions and motives of our male, female and diverse managers on the topic of gender equality.  The results help us to develop measures for more equality in the company that go beyond the pure promotion of women and include the hitherto largely unconsidered group of male managers as a central and active group of actors."

Miriam Wälti, Co-Lead Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability at PostFinance (2021)

SBB is the backbone of the Swiss public transport system, and our daily rail operations are our foundation. SBB has been transporting people and goods for over 100 years. In doing so, we make an important contribution to Switzerland's quality of life and competitiveness. We want to continue this success story in times when the entire economy and society, as well as the mobility industry, are undergoing profound changes. In this way, we will continue to assume our responsibility for public transport and Switzerland in the future. Every day, we transport more than 1.25 million passengers and 205,000 tons of goods to their destinations. But we are more than just the railroad: 32,300 passionate employees make us the backbone of public transport and work with us on our vision for the mobility of the future. Welcome to SBB.

"Real and lived equal opportunities require the inclusion of all genders. In a joint discourse, all genders are called upon to seek solutions. At SBB, too, the focus in recent years has been on promoting women in order to increase the consistently low proportion of women. The change remained modest. The project is successful for us if it can show what the levers, chance, opportunities can be that can contribute equal opportunities for all genders to the company's success."

The Office for Gender Equality of the City of Zurich is the centre of competence and the point of contact for the legal and actual equality of women and men and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and trans people in all areas of life. The Office for Gender Equality works against direct and indirect discrimination and for the promotion and realisation of legal and actual equality. It performs its special cross-sectional tasks and services for municipal employees, the municipal administration and other public bodies as well as for the municipal population, institutions, organisations and companies operating in the city of Zurich. In an overarching framework, the activities of the Office for Gender Equality refer to the Federal Constitution (Art. 8 para. 3 BV) and the Federal Gender Equality Act (Gleichstellungsgesetz, GlG).

"The under-representation of women in male-dominated professions is also a reality in the Zurich city administration. In addition to the measures already taken in the area of recruitment, the company or organisational culture also plays an important role. How can female employees who are underrepresented in an organisational unit be retained (this also applies if the signs are reversed)? How can an environment be created in which all employees feel equally comfortable and have equal opportunities to develop and advance professionally? This is where "Leaders for Equality" comes in and trains organisational units in equal-opportunity leadership. A central building block for realising actual equality".

Simon Dinkel, Project Manager, Gender Equality Office of the City of Zurich (2023)

With 10,000 employees, Stadtwerke München is one of the largest employers in the region. For many decades, we have been a safe and environmentally friendly partner for the people of Munich when it comes to public services and infrastructure in the areas of energy, water, mobility and telecommunications. As a company for all Munich residents, SWM is committed to sustainability. Climate and environmental protection are central components of SWM's corporate policy. 
Beyond our supply mandate, we are committed to a sustainable urban society. As a major client, we strengthen the regional economy and secure jobs. We offer numerous young people qualified training. 

"SWM aims to fill at least 25 % of its management positions with women by 2025 and to achieve at least 25 % female representation in the total workforce. (Gender) diversity ensures that more perspectives are taken into account when discussing problems and finding solutions; thus, diversity also ensures that SWM becomes more creative, innovative and customer-oriented, and that it handles change processes better. Not to mention that - especially in times of a shortage of skilled workers - we would otherwise not use the potential of many highly qualified women. We can only achieve sustainable diversity and real equality if we do not promote individuals (regardless of gender) but adapt the system as a whole. This means creating opportunities in some places for the underrepresented gender (and at Stadtwerke München these are usually women) to seize career opportunities in the first place; male managers are key players in this and can be promoters of equality."

Georgina Layritz, Diversity Manager (2023)

As one of the largest Swiss media and technology companies, the TX Group reaches almost 80 percent of the Swiss population every day and employs over 3,000 people.  The TX Group forms a network of platforms and participations that offers users information, orientation, entertainment and assistance for everyday life on a daily basis. The roots lie in journalism with the diverse newspapers of Tamedia as well as the free media of 20 Minuten. The portfolio is complemented by the advertising marketer Goldbach. TX Group is an anchor shareholder of SMG Swiss Marketplace Group and JobCloud, holds majority stakes in Doodle and Zattoo and is an investor in the fintech sector through TX Ventures. 

"At TX Group, a wide variety of personalities and talents come together with their individual skills and interests. Diversity makes us strong. We offer space for exchange and new ideas.For some time now, a focus has been placed on diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities and, among other things, a consistent analysis of gender balance in the workforce and also in media reporting has been carried out. We see the diversity of our employees as an opportunity and a success factor. Different perspectives strengthen innovation, promote competitiveness and help us to better understand customer needs."

Ursula Nötzli, Chief Communications & Sustainabilty Officer (2022)

We make digital human.  

We are convinced: Only when technology and user needs merge do useful solutions emerge. To this end, we rely on open dialogue between different perspectives. We put people and their needs at the centre. In this way, we create an interdisciplinary space for innovation that challenges, connects and inspires.  
Keeping an eye on the big picture: We sound out potentials, we sketch out scenarios, we design and develop digital solutions, we fill them with valuable content, we measure, we reflect, we continuously develop the solutions and we ensure scalable operation. We rely on the agile organisational system Holacracy, which promotes the personal responsibility of each individual and decentralised decision-making processes.  
We have been in the digital world since 1996. Our 250 experts are united by their enthusiasm for the added value of digital. They are based in Bern, Karlsruhe, Munich, Wrocław and Zurich. 
We set an example with our projects: We have won the Master of Swiss Web five times, lead the Best of Swiss Web category Usability and have been awarded the Sitecore Experience Award for one of our projects every year since 2012. www.unic.com

"Diversity makes us strong. The more colourful the culture, the more diverse the people, the greater the success." - that's not only how we feel about our Unic culture, we also act according to this principle in our day-to-day work at Unic. We are convinced that diversity must be a matter of course. Even for us as a holocratic company (we work in a self-organised way without a classic hierarchy of people), it is important to promote diversity and equality in all areas. After all, leadership does not come from titles, but from a positive, conscious basic attitude and an open mindset."

Annika Koller, Diversity & Inclusion Advocate (2021)


Our website is in German. This English page has been translated with the assistance of DeepL and underwent revisions using Grammarly. 

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