Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Switzerland can't be number one for moms

It’s official. Baby M has won the lottery of life. At least according to The Economist, which lists Switzerland as the best country in the world to be born in right now. (The U.S. is down at 16). 

But another recent survey, which ranks global motherhood, lists Switzerland as the 18th best country in which to be a mom.

Switzerland: a good place to be a mom?
So The Frau, a.k.a., Die Mom, comes in 18th, while Baby M comes in 1st. What accounts for this discrepancy?

We could blame Switzerland’s short 14-week paid maternity leave (short for Europe, Americans would still weep for anything close to this—thus their rank of 25th in the same survey) or the fact that working women in Switzerland are taxed more if they are married...(please don’t get The Frau started on how this is even constitutional, not to mention why every Swiss woman is not out there collecting signatures RIGHT NOW to change it)…


The Frau has an even better answer to this question that goes back to the day she became a mom in Switzerland.

After laboring at home for about 11 hours or so, it was time to go to the hospital. Really, really time.

Mr. Frau ran to the train station to summon a taxi, while The Frau, 9.5 centimeters dilated but didn’t know it yet, leaned against the wall in the lobby of her apartment building. She could barely stand at this point, let alone walk a foot without stopping to wait for another contraction to pass.

After what felt like several decades, The Frau saw a taxi go past her building...but it didn’t stop. Did Mr. Frau and the driver have a language mix-up? Was the taxi driver sadistic? Or just lost? While The Frau stood there in pain, considering the worst, Mr. Frau finally appeared another few decades later and escorted The Frau to the taxi, which had parked around the corner instead of right in front of her apartment building.

But why, fellow yodelers?
Why would someone park around the corner when it was their job to pick up a woman in heavy labor to take her to the hospital?

Because, fellow yodelers, The Frau lives in a pedestrian zone. You are not supposed to drive in a pedestrian zone.

So as it turns out,
The taxi driver wasn’t confused.
The taxi driver wasn’t sadistic.
The taxi driver wasn’t lost.
The taxi driver was Swiss.

This is why Switzerland will never be the number one place to be a mom. Or at least, become one.


Anonymous said...

I have to say I agree with the taxation. Instead of being higher for married couples it is just lower to non-married ones.
If you think about it makes perfect sense. If you share expenses you have more money. Yes, because a rent of an apartment in Switzerland is a normal salary in many countries. If you live together you can save that big cost but also all the other expenses that apply to an apartment like the stupid Bilag, heating, internet and television, water, etc…
True that you don’t have the incentive to get married but should that be considered a priority? After all you can still be a parent without being married and after a divorce at least you don’t need to change your name.

A final comment. Stupid taxi driver…. If he knew what was happening no pedestrian zone is interdict or he thinks an ambulance or a fire truck will park around the corner not to disturb the pedestrians?

JuanitaTortilla said...

1. No wonder many don't see the point in marriage.

2. Poor you! Although, had you braved the public transport, Das Baby will be riding the trams, train, and buses for free, no? That should save one a tonne of money. (Not.)

3. What about getting around with that baby wagon? I almost dread going out with friends with those tonne-heavy baby SUVs.

Made in Suisse said...

Hear hear, I love living in Switzerland, I really do but the Swiss are so backwards and, at times 2 centuries behind the rest of Europe, when it comes to motherhood. You should have seen the look on my pedatrician's face when I announce I was going back to work full-time after my 16 weeks maternity leave, it was as if I dropped-kicked my own baby in front of him!

Martin said...

Well, what is the antonym for xenophobia? No, I do not mean xenophilia, but rather something like locals-phobia. Or is the expat's anxiety/disapproval against locals just simply the same thing: xenophobia?! Remember: Swiss are foreigners to you!

Well, every phobia goes along with an über-exaggeration. And to derive from one taxi driver's behaviour to anybody's attitudes in a country is definitely an illegible over-generalisation in every sense of if its meaning. By the way: most taxi drivers in Switzerland are not Swiss at all (estimated 60%-80% or more) - whatever this in its consequence shall ever mean. :-|

But, you remember that 23% of Switzerland's inhabitants are foreigners, more than every fifth. Besides, you are one of them, also. So should I then derive from this fact that - assuming you are a taxi driver - you would do the same stupid thing when I call you?!?

Regarding differences in taxation of families and of non-married partnerships: if you would have done your homework you would know that this is an ongoing political issue and debate since years with real (!) results.

According to a decision by the Swiss Federal Court, this is illegal. And as you could imagine - I assume some intelligence and sensibility - there are probably some historical reasons behind such a development (!) - it was not always that way, but 40+ years ago it was almost inconceivable in normal circumstances that somebody will raise a child without building a family. Just to mention one and an older one of several historical aspects. That is the way the world constantly changes, doesn't it?!

Nevertheless, therefore since 2008 there have been implemented immediate measures to reduce these differences with the result that about 66% of the affected families have been released from this differences. Since 1 January 2011 the federal law for the fiscal alleviation of families with children is in force. Finally, since then the Federal Council has been defined a federal act in order to eliminate all further still existing fiscal inequalities. This act is currently under parliamentary consultation and to be released soon.,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1acy4Zn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCDe3t9hGym162epYbg2c_JjKbNoKSn6A--,lnp6I0NTU042l2Z6ln1acy4Zn4Z2qZpnO2Yuq2Z6gpJCDdYR8fWym162epYbg2c_JjKbNoKSn6A--&lang=de

By the way, my own over-generalisation about US-Americans is: this is a society of constantly über-exaggerating people, they are just not able to make a single, simple, reasonable and honest statement without any horrendous exaggerations and everything has to be expressed in a overly childishly emotional way. Does this sound reasonable? Well, I try to constantly fight it, but I fail from time to time ;-)

Martin said...

illegible --> illegitimate ... of course ... LOL

Hattie said...

It only hurts when I laugh.

Anonymous said...

So you blame the taxi driver for your own disability of organizing proper transport to the hospital??? Haha, you MUST be American!

I read two, three articles of yours about Switzerland (yes, I am Swiss, but was an Ex-Pat also) and I must say its bull.hit. Maybe you were disenchanted about your glorious life. But its not Switzerland, its you and I find it cheap blaming a population for your bitterness. Grow up and stop bashing CH, write about your glorious life back in the US with your politics, health care problems, poverty etc.

I brought my two boys here, its paradise, many friends, lots to do... My husband is a stay at home dad who helps others in need (esp elderly people), I have a fantastic career and yes... Switzerland is Paradise!

Shame you couldnt see it. No, actually not. I dont have a problem you couldnt integrate as much as you may have wanted. But at least stop trying to bully this amazing, peaceful, clean, spoilt, richt country.

So loooooooooooooooong, hope you'd never come back, not even for a holiday.

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