The Swiss Network of Female* Historians was established in March 2019 to answer the need for promotion and increased visibility of women* and their work in the historical sciences. Following a short hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the network was reactivated and restructured in the winter of 2020. During this period, a new online presence was developed and the current board was formed.
Given the historically founded homosociality that characterises many social settings, women* tend to receive less support in both formal and informal contexts. A glance at the current numbers of women* holding senior positions or professorships shows that this situation won’t change all by itself. The percentage of women* in public and private research in Switzerland is consistently below the European average, and not even 25% of professorships are held by women. See the numbers for 2019 from the Federal Statistical Office and for 2018 in this She Figures publication.
That’s why we set out to change this situation ourselves. According to Iris Bohnet, who is the author of «What Works. Wie Verhaltensdesign die Gleichstellung revolutionieren kann», networks as a tool for promotion and support are ideal for women because female role models in more senior positions are often sorely lacking (Bohnet 2016, pp. 101-2).
The Swiss Network of Female Historians is a community of women* who can benefit from each other and the contacts established through the network to exchange experiences and advance their careers. The different types of activities offered by the network provide a platform for female* historians to make their work visible, to expand it, and to discuss it. In an effort to counteract the «Leaky Pipeline» phenomenon, many conventional measures to promote women* are targeted at senior career levels, which is why one of our objectives is to provide strategic support for future female* historians already at the level of graduate studies.