We are pleased to inform you that a unique opportunity has arisen to take action and improve the situation for women in Swiss academia. StrukturElle, an organisation that promotes good gouvernance and gender equality, is pushing for changes to the requirements for accreditation1 of higher education institutions in Switzerland with regard to gender equality criteria. They have prominent support from Zita Küng, a lawyer, women’s rights activist and coach. We have a chance to participate in this process and voice our support when StrukturElle meets with the Accreditation Council on June 24, 2022.
The aim is to firmly establish gender equality criteria and specific, verifiable goals in the accreditation process as a means of quality control for universities. StrukturElle has therefore taken legal action to change laws and regulations in academia to establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) criteria and conduct annual monitoring. These criteria have not yet been determined, but a number of them, based on the application of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 in the Times Higher Education Rankings, are mentioned in the attached letter to the Accreditation Council. The idea is to make some suggestions so that the direction of change is understood. The more detailed elaboration will be the responsibility of the Accreditation Council, which should commission a suitable agency to develop a list and weighting of criteria. We will definitely offer our support to the Accreditation Council in the form of a sounding board.
This action is by and for the individuals and organizations involved in the accreditation process. As affected staff, students, and academic professional organizations, we ask you to support our action before the Accreditation Council by joining our initiative. Please complete the enclosed declaration of support and send it to Maya Dougoud (contact information in the attached PDF). Since there will be a press conference following the hearing, the signed sheets shall be placed on the board's table when we exit the room. For this, the symbolic and visual effect of the paper sheets and also the binding nature of a real signature2 is important to us to show that there is broad support of this action. Thank you very much for making this effort!
If you have ideas for the criteria to be included, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us! We will be happy to explain the details and take your suggestions.
1 Public organizations that provide services of public interest, such as educational or nursing institutions, require public funding to operate. However, in order to receive this funding, organizations must fulfil strict quality criteria set by federal law. The entire process of ensuring whether the conditions are met is called accreditation.
2 Your declaration of support will be treated confidentially. Apart from Maya Dougoud, who collects it, prints it and gives it to the Accreditation Council, no other party has access to it.