In Luxembourg, Swiss Life’s annual survey, which took place online from 1 to 15 June 2010, drew a lot of attention, striking a chord with women for whom it was particularly intended.

The theme, “Women, work and pension”, was inspiring to many and thanks to the excellent response – over a thousand questionnaires filled in, mainly by working women – Swiss Life can try to shed some light on this important issue.

The results of the survey are clear: gender remains a burning issue in the Luxembourg workplace.

Regarding equality within companies, almost one in five women surveyed feels discriminated against, while one in three has been the victim of salary discrimination. Although the country’s campaign for equality between men and women has been ongoing for many years, these figures give pause for thought.
The measures planned as part of the national action plan for equality between men and women (Plan d’action national d’égalité des femmes et des hommes) are therefore an unquestionably positive step. However, efforts must also be made and assessed at the level of and within companies.

What about working hours? The survey revealed that the option to work part-time was willingly taken up by a large majority of the women polled, thus countering the generally-accepted idea that part-time hours are frequently enforced by employers. Among the survey participants, those who have sampled a part-time schedule no longer seem able to go back to full-time hours. This may be a sign of a specific behavioural characteristic that causes a large number of women to weigh their working lives against other aspects of their social lives. The fact remains that companies cannot continue to ignore this situation forever.

Regarding responsibility, there is also the matter of pensions, an area where the provision of information – whether with regard to the state pension or the individual or group means of boosting it – remains of fundamental importance. Half of the women surveyed did not know if their state pension would be enough. Companies must also assume their social responsibility by taking action in this matter.

In addition to raising companies’ awareness, encouraging them and supporting them, it is imperative that they are made aware of their legal and social responsibilities.

The results of the survey (in French) are available online.