The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Women’s Day video tackles serious issues with a wink

Updated at 08 Mar 2024 4:50 am

For International Women's Day, a video tackles a topic with humor that is often the subject of heated debate: Women in the boardroom. Ten bosses are confronted with interview questions that are usually asked of women. The reactions are astonishing.

"You look fantastic today. Do you think that's an advantage for your career?" Or: "How was your first day at work after maternity leave?" Or: "Your colleagues ordered a stripper after a company event. Are you going or staying?" These are questions that are completely normal when asked of a woman. However, if they are asked of a man, the situation is grotesque.

Playing with prejudices

Headhunter Claire Garwacki from Zurich has set out to do just that. In January, she produced a video in which interview situations are recreated. The interviewees are ten heads of Swiss companies, all of them male. They include Erland Brügger and Silvan Brauen from Rivella, Severin Dressen from Zurich Zoo, Richard Saynor from Sandoz, Andreas Schollin-Borg from Batmaid and Fabrice Zumbrunnen from Migros Bank and Swiss Medical Nework.

The result is the video "In her Chair". It plays with clichés and prejudices. "Regardless of gender, we all unconsciously have preconceived ideas about gender roles," Garwicki told the Keystone-SDA news agency. With the video, she wants to "create greater awareness of this issue, especially in a professional environment".

Together with a colleague, Garwacki heads the Zurich-based Bellevue Executive Search, a company specializing in the recruitment of CFOs. She looks after around 50 client companies from various sectors and of different sizes throughout Switzerland. Garwacki is the mother of three children and has founded her own company. With this background, she is aware of the common prejudices that come into play when filling management positions. She has now incorporated this experience into the video.

Thinking with a smile

It was important to her to choose a humorous format. "You should be made to think with a smile," she says. As far as the reactions of the bosses in the video are concerned, she has exceeded this goal. Time and again, they not only smile, they even grin broadly. And: "Although I would say that I am generally unbiased, open-minded and tolerant, the project has once again confirmed to me that I am not free from pigeonholing," says Severin Dressen, Director of Zurich Zoo. That does make him wonder. "And it shows how much work still lies ahead of us," says Dressen.

The reaction of the bosses is remarkable. For example, when asked about his first day at work after his maternity leave, the man in the video replies that he was there for the birth "and then I went back to work". When asked about his fantastic looks and career advantage, the man spontaneously laughs and says a simple "no". This reflects a self-assurance and nonchalance that also looks good on a woman.

The video "In her Chair" was released on Tuesday to mark International Women's Day.


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