The Untold Story of Women’s Contributions to Switzerland’s Success
Swiss Maid corrects the omission of women from historical narratives of Switzerland. Women helped with herculean effort in the formation of the small but extraordinary nation, known for its political neutrality and stability, fierce independency, multiculturalism, successful economy, and innovation. The author’s investigation and analysis of women’s work in Switzerland correlates women’s contributions with the country’s sociopolitical and economic successes. Women have made historic change in religious institutions, domestic life, artisanry and trade, education, care work, the military, politics, industry and business, and service sectors. Chapters present the qualitative and quantitative data necessary to establish socioeconomic arguments. Women have indirectly contributed to the GNP but more importantly to social progress and the well-being of the nation. Stories of exemplary, pioneering women are highlighted, but silent and silenced common women are also featured and finally recognized. Although Judeo-Christian traditions placed women in subservient positions, they developed their own strength and contributed to the national economy. However, women’s work was not sufficiently recognized and valued because of inadequate accounting and productivity models. Gender-specific education, division of labor, and gendered social structures of previous centuries are discussed in relation to women’s productivity and social changes in more recent times. Multifactor productivity concepts and social progress measurements shed light on the value of women’s work and care. Portraits of historical and contemporary women attest to their intrepid courage and extraordinary yield, without which the "Swiss brand" and the image of Switzerland could not flourish.
6 Women in Early Swiss Industries
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Women are perpetual workers.
Men are only a jobbers.
A women’s house is the original workhouse.
—Max Weber, General Economic History 1920
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