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Liechtenstein - Fourth periodic report of States parties [2010] UNCEDAWSPR 6; CEDAW/C/LIE/4 (24 March 2010)

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination

against Women

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Fourth periodic report of States parties

* The present report is being issued without formal editing.




submitted under article 18 of the

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

of 18 December 1979

Vaduz, 11 August 2009

Table of contents

FOREWORD ........................................................................................................4


The present report, which was adopted by the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein on 11 August 2009 is submitted under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women of 18 December 1979. This is the fourth periodic report submitted by Liechtenstein, covering the period from July 2006 to May 2009.

The report was compiled by the Office of Equal Opportunity and the Office for Foreign Affairs on the basis of information provided by the National Administration and specialized organizations and in collaboration with the offices responsible for specific subject matters. The relevant non-governmental organizations were given the opportunity to comment on the present report.

The first part of the report contains general information on the country of Liechtenstein as well as on the protection and promotion of human rights. The second part was compiled in accordance with the guidelines contained in document HRI/GEN/2/Rev.5 of 29 May 2008 and covers the legislative, administrative, and other measures for implementation of the Convention that were adopted and carried out during the reporting period. The present report refers to the comments and recommendations of the Committee on the second and third periodic report of Liechtenstein, which the Committee considered in its 797th and 798th meetings on 26 July 2007.

Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein

Part I: Information on the country of Liechtenstein

I. Overview of Liechtenstein

1. Political and social structures

The territory of the Principality of Liechtenstein lies between Switzerland and Austria, extending over an area of 160 km2. Liechtenstein consists of eleven rural municipalities, the two largest of which have somewhat more than 5,000 inhabitants. The Principality of Liechtenstein is a constitutional hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis. In the dualistic system of State of the Principality of Liechtenstein, sovereign power is vested in both the Reigning Prince and the People. The relatively strong position of the Reigning Prince is balanced by the far-reaching direct-democratic rights of the People. 1,000 citizens or three municipalities may submit a legislative initiative. 1,500 signatures or the resolutions of four municipalities are necessary for a constitutional initiative. The same minimum numbers as for the submission of initiatives apply to calls for a referendum on legislative or constitutional resolutions of Parliament. Referenda may be called within 30 days of promulgation of the resolution of Parliament.

The Reigning Prince is the Head of State. Without prejudice to the requisite participation of the Government, which bears responsibility, the Reigning Prince represents the State in all its relations with foreign countries. On the proposal of Parliament, the Reigning Prince appoints the members of the Government. The Reigning Prince is also responsible for appointing judges, subsequent to their election by Parliament on recommendation of a special selection body. Where justified by substantial grounds, the Reigning Prince may dissolve Parliament. The Reigning Prince may also withdraw his confidence from the Government and initiate their dismissal. The Reigning Prince also has the power to issue emergency ordinances. He has the right of pardon and to reduce sentences and quash criminal investigations. The validity of every law requires the sanction of the Reigning Prince and countersignature by the Prime Minister. The Liechtenstein Parliament, the Landtag, consists of 25 Members of Parliament who are elected in general, direct, and secret elections every four years according to the principle of proportional representation. The most important responsibilities of Parliament are participation in the legislative process, approval of international treaties, approval of the State budget, election of judges on recommendation of the selection body, and oversight of the National Administration. Parliament elects the Government and nominates its Ministers for appointment by the Reigning Prince. Parliament may also initiate dismissal of the Government if the Government loses the confidence of Parliament. The Government consists of five Ministers and is the supreme executive body, supervising about 30 offices, numerous diplomatic representations abroad, and various other administrative units. About 50 commissions and advisory councils support the activities of the National Administration. The Government has the power to issue ordinances and is thus also a rule-making authority. Ordinances may only be issued on the basis of law and international treaties, however.

Municipal autonomy plays an important role in Liechtenstein. Voters in each municipality elect a Municipal Council headed by a Mayor. The municipal authorities autonomously administer their business and manage the municipal assets. Citizens may call a referendum against their decisions. According to article 4 of the Constitution, individual municipalities have the right to withdraw from the State union by way of a popular vote and rules set out by law or international treaty.

At the end of 2007, the population of Liechtenstein was 35,356 (as of 31 December 2007), which is equivalent to the size of a small city. Nearly 34% of the population are foreigners, of which 49% are from countries of the European Economic Area (EEA)[1] (mainly from Austria (17%), Germany and Italy (10% each)) as well as from Switzerland (30%). About 21% of the population are from other countries. In total, more than 90 nations are represented in Liechtenstein. At the end of 2007, 20% of the population were younger than 18 and 12% were older than 65. Life expectancy has steadily increased over the past 30 years. The average life expectancy of women in 2007 was nearly 80 and of men just over 70. According to the most recent census in 2000, religious affiliation is as follows: 78.4% of the population are Roman Catholic, 8.3% Protestant, and 4.8% Muslim. 4% of the population did not specify a religious affiliation. According to the Liechtenstein Constitution, German is the language of State and the official language. Generally, an Alemannic dialect of German is used in the vernacular.

2. Legal and institutional framework

Numerous fundamental rights are enshrined in the Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein. These include the right to life and the prohibition of the death penalty, respect for and protection of human dignity, the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, personal freedom, equality of women and men, the sanctity of the home, the protection of the privacy of correspondence and documents, the right to education, the right to proceedings before a regular judge, the inviolability of private property, the freedom of commerce and trade, the freedom of religion and conscience, the right to freedom of expression and press freedom, the right to free association and assembly, the right to petition, and the right to lodge complaints. The Constitution also specifies that all citizens are equal before the law and that the rights of foreign citizens are governed by treaties and, if no such treaties apply, by the principle of reciprocity.

The Liechtenstein legal order contains no explicit provisions specifying the rank of international treaties within domestic law. International treaties may materially have the rank of the Constitution, legislation, or ordinances. Since the constitutional revision of 2003, however, the Constitution provides for the reviewability of international treaties by the Constitutional Court, so that their formal rank is thus lower than that of the Constitution. At the same time, the Constitutional Court Act provides for the assertability of numerous individual rights set out in international treaties in the same way as constitutional rights by way of a constitutional complaint, thus granting them the material rank of the Constitution. This expressly applies to the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Conventions against Torture, Discrimination against Women, and Racial Discrimination; implicitly, this also applies to the fundamental freedoms set out in the EEA Agreement. As a general rule, the rank of an international legal norm is determined by its content. According to the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, international treaties ratified by Parliament always enjoy at least the rank of legislation within the domestic legal order. A ratified agreement becomes part of national law on the date of its entry into force. The agreement is also directly applicable, as long as its provisions are sufficiently specific.

Jurisdiction is divided into civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional jurisdiction. Civil jurisdiction and part of criminal jurisdiction are exercised in the first instance by individual judges, all other jurisdiction without exception by collegial courts. Before action can be taken in contentious civil proceedings, an arbitration procedure must be carried out at the place of residence of the respondent. Only if this procedure fails can a suit be brought. Administrative jurisdiction is exercised by the Administrative Court. Within the Administration, complaints may be filed with the Government or the Administrative Complaints Commission. Their decisions and the decisions taken by commissions acting on behalf of the Government may be appealed to the Administrative Court. The Constitutional Court has the power to review the constitutionality of laws and international treaties as well as the constitutionality and legality of Government ordinances. Unconstitutional laws and ordinances may be voided by the Constitutional Court; in the case of unconstitutional international treaties, the Court may order the domestic non-applicability of the treaty. However, the constitutionality of all international treaties is verified by the competent authorities as part of the ratification process. The responsibilities of the Constitutional Court also include the protection of constitutionally guaranteed rights and the aforementioned individual rights guaranteed under international law, all of which may be asserted by way of constitutional complaint against all civil, criminal, and administrative decisions of the last instance.[2]

Institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights: In order to exercise the responsibility of the State with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights, not only institutional structures are necessary, but also a comprehensive understanding of the nature of human rights. The establishment of the inter-office Equal Opportunity Commission in 2005 and its operational Office of Equal Opportunity (Stabsstelle für Chancengleichheit, SCG) was an important step in this regard. The focus of the SCG’s activities is to combat discrimination and promote de jure and de facto equality in the areas of equal opportunity crucial to the protection of human rights, namely with respect to gender, disability, migration and integration of foreigners, social disadvantage, and sexual orientation. The Equal Opportunity Commission determines the strategies for questions of equal opportunity with relevance to society, drafts recommendations on the need for action, observes developments, monitors implementation measures, and advises the Government. The Office of Equal Opportunity administers documentation that is open to the public, provides advice to private individuals, organizations, and businesses free of charge, and serves as a contact office for victims. It is engaged on behalf of sensitization measures, issues opinions on draft legislation, ordinances, and consultations, and coordinates measures within the Administration to bring about equal opportunities. Thanks to the centralization of all issues relating to equal opportunity in the Commission and the SCG, the interaction of disadvantages in various areas can be better ascertained, thus allowing multiple discriminations to be addressed more effectively. Currently, initial preparations for an evaluation of the Office of Equal Opportunity are underway, with the goal of reviewing the mandate and the competences of the SCG and the Commission as well as their personnel resources and effectiveness and of initiating any necessary structural or organization-specific improvements.

Part 2: Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

II. Introduction

The situation of women in Liechtenstein and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

Since the enshrinement of legal equality of women and men in the Liechtenstein Constitution in 1992 and Liechtenstein’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1996, Liechtenstein has undertaken energetic efforts to realize the principle of gender equality.

During the reporting period, further steps at the legal level have been taken as part of Liechtenstein’s gender equality policy.

Thanks to these new legislative foundations, which serve as pillars of gender equality policy to supplement the principle of gender equality set out in the Constitution and its implementation to date, de jure equality of women and men has been nearly achieved. Certain room for action still exists with respect to de facto equality, however.

With its women’s policy, the Government is advancing a change in attitudes in the population with respect to the traditional role allocation of women and men. In these efforts, it is supported by the activities of the women’s organizations working in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein’s women’s policy is based on the four pillars of the Beijing Platform for Action, which has been implemented by Liechtenstein since 1998:

1. women’s rights are human rights;

2. protection from violence is a basic right of women;

3. the full participation of women in all public and private decision-making processes in all areas of life must be ensured;

4. the rigid allocation of roles between women and men must be dissolved.

III. Remarks on the individual articles of the Convention

Article 2 Policy measures to eliminate discrimination against women

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, para. 14:

The Committee calls upon the State party to actively pursue the elimination of discrimination against women and the practical realization of the principle of equality of women and men, in accordance with articles 1 and 2 of the Convention, in all spheres of life. It requests the State party to carefully and systematically monitor the implementation of all the provisions of the Convention and to effectively eliminate discrimination against women in all areas covered by the Convention in order to promote and accelerate realization of de jure and de facto equality between women and men.

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, para. 27:

The Committee requests the State party to provide, in its next report, information on the results obtained from studies and surveys with regard to the impact of laws, policies, plans and programs aimed at achieving gender equality.

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, para. 28:

The Committee urges the State party, in its implementation of its obligations under the Convention, to fully utilize the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which reinforce the provisions of the Convention; and requests the State party to include information thereon in its next periodic report.

a) Institutions

The Office of Equal Opportunity fulfills its responsibilities relating to gender equality in accordance with the provisions of the Gender Equality Act. So far, the focus of its activities in this area has been the compatibility of family and career, women in the workplace, women and politics, violence against women, basic and continuing education of girls and women, the social status of women, gender mainstreaming, and networking with NGOs and the relevant regional offices in the neighboring countries of Switzerland and Austria. The Office of Gender Equality is active in the implementation of the provisions both of the Equal Opportunity Act and of the Platform for Action of the Beijing+5 Conference held in 2000, as well as the relevant reporting obligations. Each month since June 2008, the SCG has reported on the ongoing implementation of gender equality projects by way of a newsletter.

In recent years, the central topic of the “Gender Equality Commission”, which was appointed in 1986 and legally enshrined as an autonomous advisory body of the Government in 1999 with passage of the Gender Equality Act, has been the representation of women in political bodies. The Commission supports the candidates for parliamentary and municipal council elections, for instance by offering an annual politics course for women since 2004. For the parliamentary elections in February 2009, the Commission again carried out various actions to improve the election chances of women. For instance, the website offered female candidates an additional platform for their election campaigns. The Commission also held talks with the political parties and made various recommendations (see remarks relating to article 7).

Within the Liechtenstein National Administration, various measures were taken during the reporting period to consistently advance the equality of women and men. The responsible Working Group for the Promotion of Gender Equality and the Office of Equal Opportunity presented a study entitled “Wage (In)Equality in the National Administration” in January 2007. According to the survey, the National Administration is exemplary with respect to wage equality of women and men (see remarks relating to article 11). The Working Group met to exchange ideas with the Minister of Family and Equal Opportunity at the time, Rita Kieber-Beck, developed measures to reduce wage differences, and dealt with insurance protection during parental leave. The continuing education offerings of the National Administration also took up ideas concerning the compatibility of family and career and on role images.

b) Legislative amendments

With the Constitutional Act of 16 June 1992, the principle of gender equality was incorporated into article 31, paragraph 2 of the Constitution. Legal remedies are available against discrimination by individuals, organizations, or businesses.

Victims Assistance Act

The creation of the Victims Assistance Act[3] concluded a three-part project that began with the amendment of sexual criminal law and was continued in the revision of the Code of Criminal Procedure with respect to victims’ protection. Since most of the victims of the offenses to which these legislative amendments apply are women, the focus of this package of measures on improving the situation of victims constitutes an important step toward the de facto realization of the principle of gender equality. The amendments of sexual criminal law entered into force on 1 February 2001, the provisions on victims’ protection on 1 January 2005. The Victims Assistance Act entered into force on 1 April 2008.

The Victims Assistance Office provided for by the Victims Assistance Act has been up and running since 1 April 2008. It offers medical, psychological, social, material, and legal assistance needed in individual cases. In cases where it cannot provide such assistance itself, it provides information on appropriate places to turn. Immediate emergency assistance is provided around the clock, and long-term assistance is likewise ensured.

In the area of financial assistance, both comprehensive legal aid and rights of compensation are provided for. Legal aid covers the actual cost of the proceedings for victims, such as court fees and expert fees, as well as free legal counsel, depending on the victim’s financial situation. This is intended to help victims assert their claims against perpetrators as well as insurance companies, for instance.

In addition, these provisions are intended to enable victims to receive compensation from the State for material and non-material injury suffered, to the extent that no or only insufficient compensation is given by third parties. The compensation of non-material injuries is intended to express society’s recognition of the difficult situation of the victim as part of comprehensive victim protection, and especially to take into account the situation of victims of sexual offenses, who as a rule suffer hardly any material injuries, but usually grave non-material injuries. In contrast to compensation for loss of assets, non-material compensation should not be dependent on the income of the victim. Maximum amounts are specified for both forms of compensation.

Criminal provision against stalking

In its June 2007 session, Parliament adopted a new explicit criminal provision against stalking (§ 107a of the Criminal Code)[4]. Parliament thus sent a clear signal that this form of psychological pressure will not be tolerated. The new provisions entered into force on 30 August 2007. Stalking is defined as harassment of a person lasting for an extended period that unreasonably interferes with that person’s life. According to article 107a of the Criminal Code, stalking occurs when someone harasses another person by:

a) seeking out the person’s physical proximity;

b) entering into contact with the person by way of electronic communication or other means of communication or via a third party;

c) using the person’s personal data, orders goods or services for the person; or

d) using the person’s personal data, induces a third party to enter into contact with the person.

The perpetrator may be sentenced with imprisonment of up to one year.

Revision of State Employees Act (formerly Civil Servants Act)

The State Employees Act was adopted by Parliament in its second reading on 24 April 2008. The new law, which entered into force on 1 July 2008, incorporates the following personnel policy objectives:

1) Personnel policy is based on the legislative service mandate of the Administration, the goal of closeness to citizens, and the needs of clients. The interests of State employees shall adequately be taken into account. Personnel policy aims to achieve social partnership solutions.

2) In particular, personnel policy pursues the following objectives:

a) Recruitment and retention of qualified and responsible personnel;

b) Efficient and client-oriented fulfillment of State responsibilities within the framework of legislative requirements;

c) Development and realization of team-oriented leadership models and flexible working time regulations;

d) Creation of apprenticeship and trainee positions;

e) Promotion of the continuing education of employees;

f) Guarantee of the equal opportunities of women and men;

g) Working conditions allowing employees to fulfill their responsibility toward family and society;

h) Support for integration and employment of people with disabilities;

i) Climate of openness, trust, and fairness;

j) Protection of personality and health as well as safety of employees in the workplace;

k) Guarantee of comprehensive information for employees.

Revision of inheritance law

In summer 2008, the Government circulated its draft law on reform of inheritance law for consultations. With the reform of the inheritance law section of the General Civil Code (Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, ABGB), the following goals in particular are being pursued: deletion without replacement of the inheritance law provisions concerning the time of determination of parentage – which primarily discriminates against children; improvement of the inheritance law of the surviving spouse versus more remote collateral relatives; and admissibility of extrajudicial oral testimony only as an emergency option. Beyond this, a more far-reaching amendment is being proposed: In the new inheritance law, the restriction of the admissibility of the inheritance contract to spouses and fiancé(e)s shall be abandoned. This allows domestic partners, including same-sex partners, to benefit. After expiration of the consultation period on 5 September 2008, the consultation results were evaluated by the competent ministry. Last clarifications are now taking place.

Foreigners Act

In September 2008, Parliament adopted a new Foreigners Act (Ausländergesetz, AuG)[5]. The law entered into force on 1 January 2009 and applies to all foreigners who are neither citizens of an EEA Member States nor of Switzerland and whose right of residency does not derive from a citizen of an EEA Member State, Switzerland, or Liechtenstein. With respect to the residency of foreigners after dissolution of a martial union, the law stipulates that revocation or non-renewal of the residency permit can be waived if important personal reasons apply. These include in particular where the spouse was demonstrably a victim of domestic violence, so that continuation of the marital union was unreasonable, or where the well-being of joint minor children enjoying an actual and intact relationship with the foreign parent would be substantially endangered by the revocation of the residency of the parent. If a marital union is dissolved as a consequence of discontinuation of the joint household, separation, divorce, or invalidity or nullification of the marriage, if the marital union existed for less than five years since granting of the residency permit, and if none of the abovementioned grounds apply, the residency permit is revoked or not renewed.

Equality Act for People with Disabilities

On 1 January 2007, the Equality Act for People with Disabilities entered into force. The law is an important precondition for efficient measures against multiple discrimination of women with disabilities. To ensure implementation of the law, an Office for the Equality of People with Disabilities has been established at the Liechtenstein Association of People with Disabilities. In collaboration with the Office for the Equality of People with Disabilities, the Office of Equal Opportunity has launched several projects, including a study on the “Social Situation of People with Disabilities in Liechtenstein” and guidance entitled “Accessible Liechtenstein”. The guidance provides information on the accessibility of public buildings in Liechtenstein.

Since September 2006, the Office of Equal Opportunity has accompanied an editorial team composed primarily of people with disabilities, most of whom are women. Each year, the editorial team designs and publishes five to eight newspaper pages in both national newspapers under the heading “mittendrin”. With their newspaper contribution, the “mittendrin” editorial team aims to raise awareness of the concerns and needs of people with disabilities.

Adoption of EEA directives

Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1 May 1995 and has since adopted a total of 12 directives concerning the equality of women and men in the narrower and broader sense. Since 2001, four directives relevant to gender equality have been adopted:

- Directive 1997/81/EC on part-time work;

- Directive 1999/70/EC on fixed-term work;

- Directive 2002/73/EC on implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women;

- Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)

The adoption of Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast) was approved by Parliament in October 2008.

The main goal of this directive is to ensure the equal treatment of men and women with respect to work. More effective application of the principle of equal treatment of men and women should be guaranteed with respect to compensation, access to employment and vocational training, working conditions, and occupational systems of social security. Moreover, the directive aims to reduce the burden of proof in cases of discrimination on the basis of gender. The directive also aims to improve procedures for the purpose of more efficient realization of the principle. In all cases of violation of the principle of equal treatment, the Member States must award adequate compensation for the injury suffered. Accordingly, the directive requires Member States to define effective, proportionate, and deterrent punishments that are applied when obligations arising from EU law are violated.

Against the background of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the requirements under European Community law have been simplified, modernized, and improved by consolidating the provisions contained in six previous directives into a single text, namely Directive 2006/54/EC.

The directive will be implemented by amending the Gender Equality Act, the Occupational Pensions Act, the Pension Funds Act, and the General Civil Code.

c) Cooperation with non-governmental organizations

Non-governmental organizations play an important role in Liechtenstein’s gender equality policy. For this reason, organizations such as infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women, the Women’s Educational Work Association, the Association for the Protection of Abused Women and their Children, the Day Care Association of Liechtenstein, and the Parent-Child Forum are supported by public funds via a performance agreement. The diversity of the organizations covers a wide spectrum of areas relevant to the equality of women and men: education, politics, employment, compatibility of family and career, support for families, counseling for many different areas of life, legal advice for women, violence against women, and support and promotion of women through financial means.

Liechtenstein Women’s Network

Many non-governmental organizations, but also the women’s organizations of Liechtenstein’s political parties, have joined together into the Liechtenstein Women’s Network, under the aegis of the Office of Equal Opportunity, which acts as an administration and coordination office. The Women’s Network is open to all organizations engaged on behalf of the equal opportunity of girls and women. The joint events and projects attract more public attention and thereby have a greater impact than individual campaigns, and the activities of the individual organizations become better known. The Liechtenstein Women’s Network currently encompasses 17 organizations: the Rhine Valley Business and Professional Club (BPW), the Parent-Child Forum, the Bureau for Sexual Matters and HIV Prevention, the Women in the Progressive Citizens’ Party, the Women’s Expert Group of the Patriotic Union, the Free List, infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women, the Gender Equality Commission, the Commission for Gender and Diversity of the Hochschule Liechtenstein, the Women’s Section of the Liechtenstein Employees Association, Soroptimist International Club Liechtenstein, Soroptimist International Club Vaduz, the Turkish Women’s Association, the Day Care Association of Liechtenstein, the Association for the Protection of Abused Women and their Children, the Association of Women with a Good Constitution, and Zonta Club International Vaduz-Area.

The Women’s Network meets regularly under the aegis of the Office of Equal Opportunity to exchange information on the work of the individual organizations, to discuss draft legislation circulated for consultations, and to organize projects. For instance, International Women’s Day is planned and conducted each year by the Women’s Network. Special projects of the Women’s Network during the reporting period included the planning and execution of the DemoGrazia Civil Courage Award in November 2006 and the Women and Finances Project in November 2007.

DemoGrazia Civil Courage Award

In November 2006, the first DemoGrazia Civil Courage Award in Liechtenstein was conferred. This is an initiative of the Women’s Network to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the women’s franchise in Liechtenstein (2004). Every three years, the prize is awarded to people in Liechtenstein who have demonstrated civil courage with their engagement and actions. The prize in the amount of CHF 10,000 was awarded to the Working Group on Pregnancy Conflicts for their engagement on behalf of decriminalizing abortion in Liechtenstein. The second DemoGrazia prize will be awarded on 19 November 2009. In total, the sponsors have nominated eight people and groups for consideration by the jury.

Women and Finances

More than 120 women took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the conference on “Women and Finances” held in November 2007 to obtain information on the rights of women in the family, as employees of a family business, and in the event of inheritance. The key component of the information day was a proposal by the Women’s Network and the female Members of Parliament to the Government for an amendment to the inheritance law. In the view of the signers, inheritance law should henceforth be governed by the principle of partnership, lead to a strengthening of the surviving spouse, be modern, and contribute to a fair division of assets. The proposal was officially submitted to the Minister of Justice at the conference. Another part of the project was a multi-session training for women to promote their self-confidence, with the goal of demanding more rights with respect to family finances.

d) Cross-border networking

The Office of Equal Opportunity has established a wide range of contacts with organizations working on gender equality in Switzerland and the neighboring Austrian province of Vorarlberg. Of particular note are the Gender Equality Conference of the Cantons of Eastern Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, in which 21 institutions regularly meet to exchange information and experiences, the Federal Gender Equality Conference of the Public Gender Equality Offices of the Confederation, the Cantons, and the Cities of Switzerland, in which the Office of Equal Opportunity participates as an observer, and the Interreg projects with the canton of St. Gallen and the province of Vorarlberg. These cross-border networks have the advantage that they constitute a valuable working and communication medium for officials, thereby facilitating their work and improving its quality, and the resulting contacts also generate new projects or make existing offerings more easily accessible. Cross-border cooperation promotes international exchange about multipliers available in various areas of expertise. In the “Women’s Lives 50+” project described below, these multipliers included representative of governmental and non-governmental organizations in the fields of health, social affairs, and labor.

In the reporting period, the following cross-border projects were continued or newly launched:

Interreg project “Ländergender”

To help enhance the sustainability of the Interreg project “Ländergender” (2004 to 2006), which focuses on implementation of gender mainstreaming in the administrations of the Austrian province of Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein, a guideline on implementing gender mainstreaming was published on the intranet of the two administrations.

Women’s Networking event series

The Women’s Networking event series was carried out in the three participating regions of Vorarlberg, St. Gallen, and Liechtenstein. A networking event was hosted in Liechtenstein in 2006 and another event in St. Gallen in 2007. Between 60 and 120 women from the region took part in the networking meetings.

Interreg project “Women’s Lives 50+”

In February 2006, the Government decided to conduct the Interreg project “Women’s Lives 50+” together with St. Gallen and Vorarlberg. The project was concluded in April 2008 with the publication of a cross-border research report on the relevant aspects of the situation of older women in comparison with older men as well as a catalogue of recommended measures.

In the study, the situation of women over 50 in comparison with men in the same age group and the overall population was examined. Striking differences were indeed found, not least of all because women in this generation did not have the same scholastic and professional opportunities as men. Women in this age category also often play an important role in taking care of family members, which may lead to overwork; due to their higher life expectancy, women are also more likely to face the danger of social isolation.

The catalogue of recommended measures was compiled in autumn 2007 at three consecutive workshops with experts in the fields of securing livelihood, health, caretaking, and economics from Vorarlberg, Liechtenstein, and St. Gallen. The catalogue contains measures relating to livelihood/finances, employment, health, and caretaking of family members. It was sent out to interested offices.

Gender medicine

Between September 2007 and March 2008, an event series on gender medicine entitled “Female – Male Health” was conducted in Chur, Vaduz, Herisau, St. Gallen, and Bregenz. The events were organized by the gender equality offices of Liechtenstein, the Swiss cantons of St. Gallen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, and Graubünden, and the Austrian province of Vorarlberg within the framework of an interregional and cross-border project for the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All in 2007. For several years now, medical research has also been conducted from a gender perspective. This has led to interesting results that were presented and discussed in the event series. Every evening of the event series included the presentation of a health report from Switzerland or Austria from a gender perspective as well as lectures in various medical specialties. Leading experts from Switzerland and Austria in the fields of gender medicine and gender health were recruited for the five events. In February 2009, the documentation from the lecture series was sent directly to target groups in the healthcare and nursing fields.

e) Other measures

Measures against multiple discrimination

Participatory cooperation and dialogue with foreigners’ organizations, organizations working in the field of disability, and FLay – the Association for Gays and Lesbians in Liechtenstein and the Rhine Valley were cultivated more intensively in Liechtenstein. This approach helps combat multiple discrimination. Through organizational and mediative work as well as by providing information, infrastructure, and financial support, the Office of Social Affairs helps various private associations carry out projects. These projects include the promotion of health (e.g., nutrition counseling for migrant women), social integration (e.g., language courses), and continuing professional training.

The Passport and Immigration Office provides financial assistance for individual German-language course attendance by way of vouchers. This promotes course attendance by migrant women. Special courses for women are offered by the Association for Intercultural Education (ViB). Once a week, this framework offers German courses for mothers and children (Mother-Child German), in which mothers learn German together with their children. The course has meanwhile firmly established itself. In 2008, 33 women took part, most together with a child or two children. In 2007, only 9 women had participated.

In collaboration with the Platform for Foreigners’ Associations, the Office of Equal Opportunity organized a press campaign in 2007 with the goal of reducing prejudices against foreigners.

At a conference in November 2007 organized by the Office of Equal Opportunity, the topic of diversity management was publicly discussed in Liechtenstein for the first time. A brochure was published for this conference. The brochure presents implementation steps, explains the legislative foundations, provides names of contact and counseling offices, and gives best practice examples.

Another project by the Association for Intercultural Education is the International Women’s Café, which offers migrant women a good opportunity for intercultural exchange. Monthly meetings take place dealing with a special topic.

Article 3 Ensuring the full development and advancement of women

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, No. 29:

The Committee also emphasizes that a full and effective implementation of the Convention is indispensable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It calls for the integration of a gender perspective and the explicit reflection of the provisions of the Convention in all efforts aimed at the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and requests the State party to include information thereon in its next periodic report.

The equal exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms by women and men is guaranteed at the legal level by the principle of equality enshrined in article 31, paragraph 2 of the Liechtenstein Constitution. With respect to financial and other promotion of the equality of women and men in Liechtenstein, please refer to the other chapters of this report.

Development cooperation

The principle of solidarity with people who are disadvantaged with respect to their circumstances and quality of life and the protection and preservation of the interests of these people are the starting point and goal of Liechtenstein’s engagement within the framework of International Humanitarian Development and Cooperation (IHDC). The principles, goals, and core responsibilities of Liechtenstein IHDC are set out in the International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development Act (IHDC Act)[6], which entered into force on 29 June 2007. Article 1, paragraph 4 of the IHDC Act expressly emphasizes the promotion and protection of vulnerable groups, such as women: “Cooperation is carried out on a broad basis and according to the principle of non-discrimination. The promotion and protection of vulnerable groups, in particular women, children, people with disabilities, and older persons, shall be taken specially into account.” As an overarching topic, the area of gender plays a very important role in development cooperation projects. Additionally, Liechtenstein makes voluntary contributions to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and other projects for the protection and promotion of women that are conducted by international organizations such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE (see Contributions by Liechtenstein to Women’s Projects, Appendix 2).

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, para. 30:

The Committee notes that the adherence of States to the seven major international human rights instruments enhances the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in all aspects of life. The Committee therefore encourages the Government of Liechtenstein to consider ratifying the treaty to which it is not yet a party, namely, the International Convention an the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families entered into force on 1 July 2003. The Convention currently has 37 States parties, almost all of which are countries of origin of migration. Neither Switzerland nor any member of the European Union has ratified the Convention so far. For this reason, and since at this point in time it is unclear how some provisions of the Convention would be interpreted in practice that could be problematic for Liechtenstein, it is too early to consider ratification.

60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, numerous activities were organized between August and December 2008. In addition to extensive reporting in newspapers and magazines, continuing education offerings and cultural events were organized. At all events, the central importance of human rights was emphasized and the target audience sensitized accordingly (for additional information, see remarks relating to article 24).

Article 4 Positive measures to accelerate de facto equality

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, para. 20:

The Committee recommends that the State party further assess the results achieved with currently applied temporary special measures and, accordingly, consider expanding these to a variety of strategies, including legislative and administrative measures, outreach and support programs, the allocation of resources and the creation of incentives, targeted recruitment and the setting of time-bound goals and quotas, in different areas of the Convention. In such efforts, the State party should take account of the Committee’s general recommendation 25 on article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

Liechtenstein promotes and supports women in many areas of life in which they are exposed to disadvantages, and it applies a wide range of methods in this regard. These advancement measures are ultimately justified by the de facto inequality that prevails today. According to article 31, no different legal treatment may be accorded to women, except in connection with pregnancy, childbirth, and maternity. However, article 3, paragraph 4(a) of the Gender Equality Act clarifies that appropriate measures for the realization of actual equality do not constitute discrimination. Individual enterprises are free to determine the best way to implement the selected measures, however.

In recent years, the Government has taken various measures for the advancement of women. These include measures mentioned relating to articles 2 and 3, articles 5 to 7, and articles 10 to 13. As long as women are underrepresented in political, economic, and social leadership positions despite these efforts, it will continue to be the task of Liechtenstein’s policy on women to promote their equality through targeted measures.

Article 5 Changing social and cultural behavioral patterns

a) Measures to eliminate prejudices, ideas of gender superiority or inferiority, and stereotyped gender roles

Recommendations of the CEDAW Committee, para. 22:

The Committee calls upon the State party to put in place a comprehensive policy, targeted at men and women, boys and girls, to overcome traditional stereotypes regarding the roles of women and men in society and in the family, in accordance with articles 2 (f) and 5 (a) of the Convention. Such a policy should include legal, administrative and awareness-raising measures, involve public officials and civil society and target the entire population. It should also focus on the involvement of different media, including print and the Internet, and encompass both specialized and general programs.

Although many women, especially young women, now demand the same opportunities as men with a high degree of self-confidence and matter-of-factness, and many men, especially young men, assign themselves a role in society, relationships, and family that is free of patriarchal stereotypes, the conduct of many people is nonetheless still influenced by gender-specific clichés. To make a deeper change in attitudes possible, the Office of Equal Opportunity conducted several projects during the reporting period with the goal of dissolving stereotypical role images.

Images of Men

The “Images of Men” group steadily continued its activities since the last report. The Office of Equal Opportunity is the coordination and administration body of this group. It drafted a position paper on the topic of “Joint Child-Care as a Rule”. From October to December 2007, Images of Men conducted four discussion evenings entitled “Men’s Chat”. In December 2007, it presented its revised website at Since 2002, the project funds offer free legal counseling for men in divorce situations. Each year, two to four events at schools on the topic of “Strong Girls and Boys” are supported financially. In a one-day course for girls and boys 10 and above, these events deal with gender-specific stereotypes, develop connections between advertising and men’s and women’s roles, reduce prejudices and forced behavioral patterns toward the other sex, and strengthen the children’s self-confidence.

In 2008, an internal working group discussed the future of Images of Men. The desire was voiced to create a separate contact office for men. On 17 June, a non-profit association called “Center for Men’s Questions” was founded by the male members of the group.

Fathers’ Day

After an extensive evaluation of the “Fathers’ Day” project, in which children visit their fathers at work or also the fathers visit their children in school, the concept was redesigned in 2006: Fathers’ Day now alternates between workplaces and schools. Fathers’ Day was successfully carried out in schools in 2007. In mid-September 2008, Fathers’ Day again took place at businesses.

Girls’ Dreams – Boys’ Dreams

As a further development of the expert meeting on “Girls’ Dreams – Boys’ Dreams” conducted by the Office of Education and the Office of Equal Opportunity, the continuing education course on “Pedagogical Work with Boys” was conducted during the 2006/07 school year, aimed especially at kindergarten and primary school teachers. The course was also offered in the 2008/09 school year by the Office of Education. This course aims to offer inspiration for daily pedagogical work with boys. By handling the boys better, more space can be created in class for girls. The target areas of the course combine background information with practice and help develop individually tailored implementations. Because the course is spread out over one year, the contents can be weighted according to the working conditions of the teachers.

Youth work

Youth meets are organized in all municipalities of Liechtenstein. The individual youth meets always include campaigns that are specially oriented toward the current desires and needs of the young women and men. Some of the examples are: “Ladies Night” for girls and “Boys Night” for boys, self-defense training for girls, and travel opportunities only for girls.

Workshop for reflecting on gender images

Every year since 2006 on International Women’s Day, the Office of Equal Opportunity has organized a workshop in secondary school classes to reflect on gender images throughout history and today. So far, three to seven school classes have participated each year.

b) Measures for recognizing the joint responsibility of men and women in the education and development of their children

Family allowances

Liechtenstein attaches great importance to the promotion of families and single parents. The Family Allowance Act[7] provides for the payment of birth and child subsidies to all persons whose civil residence or place of employment is in Liechtenstein. An allowance of CHF 2,300 (until 2007: CHF 2,100) is granted for the birth of a single child, and CHF 2,800 (until 2007: CHF 2,600) per child in the event of multiple births. Birth allowances are also granted in the event of adoption of a child under the age of five.

Child allowances have also been increased since the last report. For families with one or two children, the child allowance is CHF 280 per child per month. Families with twins or with three or more children receive CHF 330 per child per month. The child allowance is increased to CHF 330 per month for each child over the age of 10. These benefits are paid from birth to the 18th birthday. Persons whose claim to a foreign allowance takes precedence over the Liechtenstein allowance receive compensation for the difference.

Single parent allowance

In the area of family allowances, a new benefit was introduced effective July 1999 in addition to child allowances and birth allowances, namely the single parent allowance[8]. Single parents became entitled to an additional monthly benefit of CHF 100 per child. Any single parent may claim this benefit who may also claim a child allowance. The claim exists for each child with whom the single parent lives in the same household. The allowance is paid in addition to the child allowance. Since January 2007, the single parent allowance has been CHF 110 per child.

Table 1: Number of recipients of single parent allowances in Liechtenstein and abroad


Number of recipients

Source: Annual Report 2007 of the AHV/IV/FAK.

Tax deduction for children

Each year, a tax allowance of CHF 6,000 can be deducted from income tax returns for each child under the age of 16 and for each child over 16 who is in school, in an apprenticeship, or unable to work, if the taxpayer supports the child financially.[9] Moreover, taxpayers living with their own children in a household are granted a deduction of CHF 6,000 from taxable income. Since 1 January 2008, an exemption of CHF 9,000 can be deducted. Spouses who are neither legally nor actually separated are granted a deduction of one third of the total tax amount on their tax return.

Brochure on Promoting Families in Liechtenstein

The brochure on “Promoting Families in Liechtenstein”, drafted by the Office of Social Affairs and the Office of Equal Opportunity, was issued for the first time in January 2001. This guidebook provides information to the population on public and private offerings for the promotion of the family in Liechtenstein, how families may benefit from these offerings, and where they may obtain additional information. Due to the high demand for the brochure, a second edition was published in May 2002, updated as an online version in 2008, and issued as a third paper edition.

Poverty report

In September 2008, the 2nd Poverty Report was presented to the public[10]. The ratio of low income households in Liechtenstein is 11%. This represents 1,528 households with an equivalent income of up to CHF 27,754. Without social assistance, the ratio would be 19.2%. Two groups are hit hardest by low income: single parent households at 23.4%, and married couples with more than two children at 14.7%. State social services have the greatest impact with seniors at 23%, with single parent households at 17%, and with families with three and more children at 14%. For families, child allowances and single parent allowances are the most effective.

Table 2: International comparison of low income ratios

Ratio of low income household
Low income threshold (60% of median income)
Liechtenstein (2004)
Luxembourg (2006)
Germany (2003)
Austria (2004)
Italy (2006)
EU-25 (2006)

Source: Second Poverty Report, 2008, Office of Social Affairs.

A comparison of the ratios shows Liechtenstein’s remarkably good position. The threshold is high, but the ratio is still low compared with other countries. A comparison of low income households with other countries must take the high level of wages and prices into account. Liechtenstein – like Luxembourg – thus has a high low income threshold.

Cooperation with the media

For cooperation with the media relating to human rights and women’s rights, see the remarks relating to article 24.

Article 6 Elimination of all forms of exploitation (especially trafficking in women and prostitution) and violence against women

a) Violence against women, violence protection law, and domestic violence

UNIFEM appeal: Say No to Violence against Women

Together with the foreign ministers of Austria, Switzerland, and Greece, the EU Commissioner for External Relations, and the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Rita Kieber-Beck, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, signed the UNIFEM appeal “Say No to Violence against Women” on 23 June 2008. The UNIFEM campaign aims to sensitize and mobilize the worldwide public with respect to violence against women and calls upon decision-makers in all countries to treat violence against women as an important and high-priority topic. With its endorsement, Liechtenstein supported the UNIFEM campaign and confirmed the high priority given to the topic in Liechtenstein.

Statistics on domestic violence

In 2008 (2007) there were 23 (49) interventions by the police in cases of domestic violence. In 7 cases (7 men), the police expelled the perpetrator from the home, and in 2 cases (2 men), the perpetrator was prohibited from entering the abode. In 2007, there were 10 expulsions (9 men, 1 woman) and 7 (7 men) prohibitions of entry. In 3 (4) cases in 2008 (2007), a restraining order was obtained by the victim from the Court of Justice. In 2008, one charge of stalking was filed with the Office of the Public Prosecutor. The proceedings were suspended by the Office of the Public Prosecutor. In 2009, a man sought for stalking by Switzerland was arrested in Liechtenstein and extradited to Switzerland.

Criminal provision against stalking

Please see the remarks relating to article 2, which already discussed the criminal provision against stalking, which entered into force on 30 August 2007.

Work with perpetrators

Work with perpetrators plays an important role, since it helps better protect the victims. For this reason, a working group of the Office of Social Affairs is drafting a concept for work with perpetrators in Liechtenstein. In January 2008, an event was held on this topic with the goal of optimizing cooperation on work with perpetrators among the competent organizations. In October 2008, the Office of Social Affairs organized an expert workshop on “Psychosocial Violence: Dealing with Acute Situations of Violence.”

Extrajudicial compensation

Extrajudicial compensation (§ 22g of the Code of Criminal Procedure; StPO[11]) is carried out under the instruction and supervision of the Liechtenstein Probation Service. After receipt of criminal charges and decision by the Office of the Public Prosecutor or the court, social workers offer conflict settlement in cases of petty to medium crime. The goal of extrajudicial compensation is to achieve compensation agreed by both sides by way of neutral mediation between the injured party and the accused. With the help of a neutral conflict mediator, the aim is to find a fair solution for all parties outside of court. For various reasons, conflicts within partnerships play a special role in this regard, especially since relationship conflicts often escalate, and special attention must be paid to the situation of the victim. The advantage is that the needs of the victim can be addressed, who often is suffering from some sort of coercive situation. For this reason, the probation team generally works in pairs, with one woman and one man. In 2007 and 2008, a total of 33 cases of domestic violence in relationships were mediated. 27 accused persons (24 men and 3 women) and 27 injured parties (4 men and 23 women) as well 12 persons (6 women and 6 men) who were both accused and injured were contacted by the Probation Service. 40% of the offenses were assaults, 33% dangerous threats, and 13% damage to property. 76% of the relationship conflicts were brought to a positive conclusion.

Interpellation concerning domestic violence

In August 2007, two Members of Parliament who were also members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe submitted an interpellation in Parliament concerning domestic violence against women. With this interpellation, the parliamentary questioners wanted to support the Council of Europe campaign “Stop Domestic Violence against Women”. The questioners requested information from the Government on the legal rules for cooperation with third parties, statistical data, and police reports and judicial decisions in connection with domestic violence against women. The goal of the questioners included sensitization of the public for this important social policy concern. In its meeting of 18 March 2008, the Government responded to the interpellation and forwarded the response to Parliament. The Government’s report explained the legal provisions directly relating to the topic and the general situation with respect to domestic violence in Liechtenstein, allowing conclusions to be drawn for legislative or organizational measures.

National Action Plan against Domestic Violence

As part of the Council of Europe campaign “Stop Domestic Violence against Women” (2006 to 2008), the Office of Equal Opportunity drafted a National Action Plan against Domestic Violence. The Action Plan covers the following areas: regulation; fundamental decision of the Government concerning residency after dissolution of a marital union; violence protection; networking and cooperation; compilation of data and information; prevention; work with perpetrators; and health. The current situation was described in each area and potential for improvement formulated.

The Government took note of the Action Plan in April 2008 and mandated the Office of Equal Opportunity to discuss it with the Violence Protection Commission and the Court of Justice and to present concrete measures to the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunity.

Two priority topics arose from the discussions with the two institutions: improvement of networking and cooperation among the various support offices, and improvement of victim protection.

On 3 February 2009, the Government approved the transnational project entitled “S.I.G.N.A.L – an intervention program against domestic violence.” The goal of the project is to inform physicians and nurses about the health impact of violence, to draw the attention of doctors to the S.I.G.N.A.L guidelines, and to network system partners transnationally. The exhibit “Behind the Façade” is part of the project and is being shown in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein. The project runs from April 2009 to November 2010.

Women’s Home

The Women’s Home, run by the Association for the Protection of Abused Women and Their Children, was established in 1991 and offers a place to stay for victims of violence. The Government supports the Liechtenstein Women’s Home as part of a service agreement with an annual contribution of CHF 320,000.

Table 3: Admissions to the Women’s Home since 2001

Admissions to the Women’s Home
of which women from Liechtenstein

Source: Annual Reports of the Women’s Home, 2001 to 2008.

Training of police officers

Since implementation of the Violence Protection Act places high demands on the National Police, all new police trainees at the Police Academy are trained in the subject of domestic violence. This subject is also an examination subject for the police qualification exam.

b) Sexual violence

In the years 2007 and 2008, 40 and 22 complaints of sexual offenses, respectively, were filed with the National Police. Five of the complaints in 2008 concerned rape and sexual coercion (§§ 200 and 201 of the Criminal Code, StGB). Four other complains are pending with the Office of the Public Prosecutor or the Court of Justice. In 2007, four cases of rape were reported to the police. In one case, the perpetrator was sentenced to imprisonment. In the second case, the trial began in May 2009. In the remaining two cases, the proceedings were suspended for lack of evidence. In 2007 and 2008, 2 and 6 complaints, respectively, of sexual harassment (§ 203 StGB) and exhibitionism (§ 218 StGB) were forwarded by the police to the Office of the Public Prosecutor. No indictments were issued in the two cases from 2007 for lack of evidence. Two of the six cases from 2008 resulted in convictions. Three other cases are still being investigated. One case had to be put aside by the Office of the Public Prosecutor since no perpetrator could be identified. Also in 2008, six sexual offenses against minors were reported to the Office of the Public Prosecutor. The police processed three criminal charges arising from pornography (§ 218a StGB) in 2008. These resulted in two convictions and one suspension of the proceedings. No indictments or arrests were made in 2007 or 2008 relating to prostitution.

The measures for the protection of children from sexual abuse have been intensified in recent years. In 1999, an interdisciplinary Expert Group against Sexual Abuse of Children and Young People was established in 1999, which is responsible for advising experts and institutions. It also serves as a contact office for affected persons and those close to them. In cases of suspicion, it can be called upon to initiate the necessary measures. In 12 cases in 2008, the Expert Group either gave advice or was informed of (suspected) cases of sexual abuse against children and young people. The sensitization of teachers of primary school children was an important topic in 2008 and continued in 2009. At the beginning of 2009, the Expert Group made a presentation to emergency doctors, including information on important procedures for confronting sexual abuse of children. As part of the three-year prevention campaign of the National Police “Stop Child Pornography on the Internet”, the Expert Group in collaboration with the National Policy organized information events for parents and teachers. A special event was held for Turkish parents and translated into Turkish. Since 2001, the Expert Group regularly organizes continuing education sessions for a broad circle of experts. The session in June 2009 discussed the topic of child pornography, since the Expert Group has increasingly had to deal with cases of child pornography and threats on the Internet and in chat rooms.

c) Prostitution and trafficking in women

During the reporting period, Liechtenstein received no requests for mutual legal assistance with respect to prostitution. Since July 2007, the Liechtenstein police has received three reports of suspected promotion of prostitution or unlawful prostitution. One case has been suspended in the meantime, since the suspicion was not corroborated. Two cases are still pending as of compilation of this report.

As already explained in the third country report, Liechtenstein is neither a transit nor a destination country for organized human trafficking, according to the findings of the Liechtenstein National Police. No cases of human trafficking have become known so far.

The dancers in the currently seven nightclubs in Liechtenstein are classified as a possible risk group with respect to human trafficking. They reside in Liechtenstein for a maximum of seven months within a calendar year on the basis of a special short-stay permit. The Government has issued a fundamental decision[12] on the admission of nightclub dancers and musicians, which contains detailed rules to protect employees. For instance, the dancers must have health and accident insurance, take part in the project on “AIDS Prevention in the Sex Industry (APIS)”, and receive appropriate accommodation and the minimum salary applicable to the hotel and restaurant industry. As a further protective measure, permits are only granted if foreign dancers requiring a visa were employed in Switzerland immediately prior to the beginning of their employment in Liechtenstein. The fundamental decision also specifies a quota for the employment of dancers and musicians: Each month, a nightclub may employ a maximum of five dancers and one musician. The fundamental decision issued by the Government constitutes the basis for regular inspections of nightclubs by the National Police and the Immigration and Passport Office. They inspections are used to verify the residence status, the employment conditions and wage payments, and the housing of the women. An important aspect of the inspections is monitoring for any signs of human trafficking. The police officers have been sensitized with respect to this topic in continuing training courses. In addition, the fundamental decision requires employers to give their employees time off for an information event organized by the authorities (for more details, see “Magdalena Prevention Project” below). The short-term stay permits mentioned above are only issued on the condition of participation in such an information event. If this condition is violated, the authorities may not issue the permit and may impose a fine for violation of the participation requirement. If the same employer violates the requirement repeatedly, the employer must expect further permit applications to be rejected relating to article 89 of the Foreigners Act and to pay costs incurred by the employees that have not be covered.

Guidelines for combating human trafficking

In December 2006, a “Round Table on Human Trafficking” was initiated to optimize cooperation between prosecution authorities, migration authorities, and victims care facilities (Victims Assistance Office, Office of Social Affairs, etc.) with respect to the problem of human trafficking. The Round Table drafted guidelines for combating human trafficking in Liechtenstein, which were adopted by the Government on 3 July 2007. The guidelines aim to define the process for dealing with any cases of human trafficking in Liechtenstein, to ensure cooperation among the competent offices, and to increase the probability of exposes such cases. For this reason, the guidelines grant potential victims of human trafficking a period of consideration of 30 days. During this period, no immigration enforcement procedures will be carried out. If the victim decides to collaborate with the authorities, an L permit (short-term stay permit) may be issued in accordance with article 21 of the Foreigners Act and article 16(d) of the associated Ordinance on the Admission and Stay of Foreigners[13]. This permit may be extended, depending on how long the presence of the victim is needed for the criminal police investigations and judicial proceedings. Upon request, the Immigration and Passport Office may also approve appropriate employment for the victim to ensure her psychosocial stabilization during the criminal proceedings.

Magdalena Prevention Project

The Round Table also set up the “MAGDALENA Prevention Project for Potential Victims of Human Trafficking.” Since the beginning of May 2009, the dancers employed at Liechtenstein bars and nightclubs have been required to participate in an information event at which representatives of the authorities and the Victims Assistance Office inform the women about their legal situation pertaining to work, their stay in Liechtenstein, social and health insurances, and services for victims of human trafficking. This event aims to help prevent potential exploitative circumstances in the milieu that cannot be ruled out, and to give potential victims of human trafficking access to counseling and victims assistance offices. Because of the high rate of turnover in this industry, the events take place each month. At the end of the year, the results of the pilot project will be evaluated in order to decide on whether to continue it.

Traveling exhibit entitled “No Glamour”

In cooperation with the Evangelical Church in Liechtenstein, the Round Table on Human Trafficking, and Amnesty International, the Office of Equal Opportunity presented the travel exhibit “No Glamour – Prostitution and Trafficking in Women in the Age of Globalization” at two locations in Liechtenstein. The side events of the exhibit included a thematic introduction at the exhibit’s opening, a film on the topic, and following the film a discussion with representatives of the Round Table on Human Trafficking about the situation in Liechtenstein. The Evangelical Church addressed the topic of human trafficking in a church service. Two school classes also visited the exhibit.

Campaign against trafficking in women during Euro 08

From 7 to 29 June 2008, the football European Championships were held in Switzerland and Austria. During the championships, a campaign against trafficking in women was launched. This campaign was sponsored by a broad coalition of expert offices and NGOs in Switzerland. The Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein supported the campaign with a contribution of CHF 20,000. The campaign was also present in Liechtenstein, especially in the Euro fan zone, where games were projected on a large screen.

As part of the campaign, the Women’s Network carried out the following initiatives:

- Campaign commercial in the Euro fan zone in Vaduz: The commercial was played on the large screen in the Euro fan zone in Vaduz 15 times. The commercial was identical to the one shown on Swiss TV.

- Brief presentation on the website The organizers of the Euro fan zone let the Women’s Network make a brief presentation of the campaign on the website of the Euro fan zone, including the campaign’s logo.

- Postcard campaign: The members of the Women’s Network distributed about 2,000 postcard for the campaign against trafficking in women in restaurants that broadcast the football game live.

- Newspaper articles: On 6 June 2008, articles on the campaign were published in both national newspapers and to recruit signatures for the ongoing petition against trafficking in women in Switzerland.

- EURO-NEWS: Two issues of the EURO-NEWS of the Vaduzer Medienhaus (26 June and 29 June) published notices regarding the petition.

Ratification of the UN protocol against human trafficking

Since March 2008, Liechtenstein has been a State party to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) and its Protocols against the Smuggling of Migrants and to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. The new definition of human trafficking in the Liechtenstein Criminal Code (§104a StGB) is in conformity with the protocol’s definition.

Article 7 Equality in political and private life

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 18:

The Committee encourages the State party to intensify its efforts to strengthen women’s representation in leadership rotes and in decision-making positions in political bodies, including Parliament, municipal councils, commissions, and advisory councils, in public administration, including the diplomatic service, and in the private sector. It recommends that the State party expand its current awareness-raising efforts and training activities to a wider range of stakeholders, including leaders of political parties, senior managers in the private sector and boards of trustees of foundations under public law. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures, in particular temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and the Committee’s general recommendation 25 on temporary special measures and general recommendation 23 on women in public life; so as to accelerate the achievement of women’s full and equal participation at all levels and in all areas. It requests the State party to monitor the impact of measures taken and results achieved over time and to report thereon in its next periodic report.

a) Share of women in public functions

From 1993 to 1997, two of the five Ministers were women; from 1997 to 2009, one Minister was a woman. Since March 2009, two women are again serving in the Government. In the current term of Parliament (2009-2013), women hold 6 of 25 seats, and 2 of the 7 Alternate Members of Parliament are women.

The 11 Liechtenstein municipalities are administered by a Municipal Council elected every four years under the leadership of a directly elected Mayor. In the current term (2007-2011), all mayors are men. 29 women (27%) and 77 men (73%) are represented in the municipal councils, while only 17 women (15.5%) were represented in the municipal councils in 1999, compared with 93 men (84.5%). In the 2007 municipal council elections, the election chances of female candidates were 55.8% for the municipal councils.

Table 4: Share of women in the Government, Parliament, and the 11 municipal councils


Source: Websites of the municipalities (as of May 2009) and Government Chancellery.

Women are a minority in the over 66 commissions and advisory councils, and only 6 commissions are chaired by women. In 2007, 75 women (17.7%) and 349 men (82.3%) were members of the national commissions. From 1998 to 2007, the share of women increased by 2%.

The share of women in the foundations under public law decreased by 2.4% from 1998 to 2007. In 1998, 28 men (66.7%) and 14 women (33.3%) were members of boards of trustees of foundations. In 2007, a total of 94 persons served in foundations under public law, 65 (69.1%) of whom were men and 29 (30.9%) of whom were women.

The share of women in establishments under public law increased by 8.1% from 1998 to 2007. In 1998, 32 men (86.5%) and 5 women (13.5%) were members of boards of trustees of establishments. In 2007, a total of 88 persons served in establishments under public law, 69 (78.4%) of whom were men and 19 (21.6%) of whom were women.

In courts of public law, the share of women increased dramatically between 1998 and 2007. In 1998, only men – a total of 12 – were members of these courts. In 2007, a total of 20 persons were members of the courts, 15 (75%) of whom were men and 5 (25%) of whom were women. The share of women in civil and criminal courts increased by 11.8% from 1998 to 2007. In 1998, 33 men (78.6%) and 9 women (21.4%) served on civil and criminal courts; in 2008, there were 95 members, 64 (67.3%) of whom were men and 31 (32.7%) of whom were women.

At the municipal level, an average of 25.8% of the commission members were women in 2006. By 2008, the share of women was 28.7%. This represents an increase of the share of women of 2.9%.

One third to one half of internal political party functionaries are women. In 1982, party-internal women’s organizations were founded in the two large people’s parties (“Expert Group on Women in the Patriotic Union”, “Women in the FBP”), with the goal of enhancing the interest of women in politics and serving an educational function. They aim to raise the awareness of the public, to represent women’s interests in politics, and not least of all to prepare women within their respective party for political offices and functions. The share of women in the leadership of the Free List, founded in 1985, is 57%, the highest of the political parties.

Table 5: Share of women in political party functions (2008)

Share of women
Party leadership of all three parties
VU party leadership
FBP party leadership
FL party leadership


These figures show that the participation of women in politics continues to be relatively low. The development since 1998, especially with regard to the representation of women in Parliament, the municipal councils, and the courts, is grounds for optimism, however, and shows that the active promotion of women in recent years, especially in the run-up to the municipal elections in 2007 and the parliamentary elections in 2005 and 2009, has borne fruit. The low share of women in politics continues to be regrettable, however, which is why the political participation of women in Liechtenstein will continue to be promoted in the future.

b) Measures to promote women in public functions

In view of the resolution passed by the Government in 1997 that no gender should be represented by more than two thirds in bodies appointed by the Government, it must be pointed out on the basis of the figures mentioned above that the share of women in commissions and advisory councils continues to be lower than the envisaged quota of one third. On 29 September 2004, the Government took note of the report drafted by the Steering Committee for Gender Mainstreaming on this topic, “The political participation of women and men in public bodies in Liechtenstein – A survey of the mechanisms and actors”. The Government decided to become more active in mobilizing women for work in the commission: When appointing commission members, the election authority calls upon the political parties and associations to give preference to women for purposes of a balanced composition. The Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunity has also informed interest groups orally and in writing on the Government’s goal and has requested them to take women into account when nominating candidates.

“Women’s Pool” database

95 women have meanwhile joined the “Women’s Pool” founded in 1999 for the purpose of implementing the “two-thirds resolution”. The Women’s Pool is a database into which women interested in politics can enter themselves. Through their registration in the database, the women make themselves available to serve in commissions and working groups at the national and municipal level. The Women’s Pool is primarily accessed by women’s organizations that are looking for women to serve in a leadership function. The Women’s Pool database was advertised at the beginning of 2008 by way of newspaper articles in the two national newspapers, a radio interview, an article in the employee newsletter of the National Administration, and the newsletter of the Office of Equal Opportunity. Thanks to these advertisements, 25 new politically interested women were recruited for the Women’s Pool. The interest associations are regularly briefed on the current status of the Women’s Pool.

Politics course

From March to November 2009, the Gender Equality Commission, the Office of Equal Opportunity, and the Vorarlberg Women’s Department are hosting a cross-border politics course, already the sixth such course since 2004. The aim of the politics course is to prepare women for contributing their abilities in political bodies and in public. They learn basic political knowledge and the rules of the daily political game. The participants are given support in their socio-political engagement or their political work. Their self-confidence is strengthened and they learn the techniques of leading a discussion. The politics course is composed of the modules “Self-assessment: Is political engagement the right challenge for me?”, “The political system of Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein – Theory and reality”, “Public speaking and argumentation”, “Introduction to political structures”, “Conflict management”, and “PR and media training”. The target audience of the politics course consists of women who are active in institutions, chambers, parties, public bodies, organizations, associations, or initiative groups or who would like to become involved in the future. Since 2004, about 120 women from Liechtenstein and Vorarlberg have taken advantage of this opportunity and concluded the politics course. In addition to an interesting supplementary education, these women have also benefited from interregional cooperation – not only did they make new acquaintances, but they also exchanged experiences and broadened their perspective on the other country.

Opening of the exhibit “100 Years of Women’s Franchise in Europe – 25 Years in Liechtenstein” on 8 March 2009

A representative cross-section of the exhibition of the Bonn Women’s Museum “With Power to Vote – 100 Years of Women’s Franchise in Europe” was shown in the Parliament Building from 8 March to 4 July 2009. The conception of this traveling exhibit attempted for the first time to present a European comparison of the history of the women’s franchise. Profiles of the history of women’s franchise and its protagonists from 23 European countries were developed. At the same time, the exhibit on the 25th anniversary of the women’s franchise in Liechtenstein was shown in front of the Parliament Building. Historical materials – from the fight for women’s franchise to its introduction in Liechtenstein – were presented on and in stands. Various events and workshops for secondary school classes accompanied these two exhibitions. In addition to the Office of Equal Opportunity, the Gender Equality Commission, the Rhine Valley Business and Professional Club, infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women, and Women’s Home, and the youth work offices contributed to the side events. On 4 July 2009, the exhibition was concluded with an auction. Various objects from the exhibit on “25 Years of Women’s Franchise” were sold and auctioned off. The revenue from the auction will help fund the Civil Courage Award.

c) Measures to promote women in the run-up to the municipal council and parliamentary elections

Talks with Members of Parliament

Since March 2007, the Office of Equal Opportunity organizes two rounds of talks a year with female Members of Parliament on a topic of current interest. Politically interested women are personally invited to the talks. The topics that have been discussed so far include “5 Years of Violence Protection Law in Liechtenstein”, “Compatibility of Family and Career”, and “The Recommendations on the 3rd Periodic Report for CEDAW.” With a view to the 2009 parliamentary elections, a politics workshops was conducted with the candidates. At the beginning of May 2009, the fifth round of talks on the topic of “Women in Commissions” was held. After each round of talks, an article is published in the press.

Municipal council elections

In the run-up to the municipal council elections in 2007, the Gender Equality Commission organized two information events to motivate women to run for municipal council or mayor. The goal of the events was to convey insight into municipal work to women; to make the women familiar with the demands on a municipal council member or mayor; and to inform them about opportunities for assistance when entering political office. Additionally, newspaper articles and a full-page advertisement featuring all candidates were published in the two national newspapers.

After the municipal council elections, the Commission conducted a post-election survey by sending a written questionnaire to all female candidates. 55% of the candidates returned the questionnaire: About 63% of the respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their support by the party. The most frequent suggestions for improvement in the event of another candidacy were: better and earlier preparation, coaching, support and information during the preparatory period for the election.

2009 parliamentary elections

Various activities were carried out for the 2009 parliamentary elections. In mid-June 2008, the outgoing Minister of Family and Equal Opportunity and the Gender Equality Commission met for talks with the leadership of the three parties. The goal of the talks was to inform the parties about the activities of the Gender Equality Commission and to ask them for their support in promoting women in the upcoming parliamentary elections and in achieving gender balance in the commission. For the parliamentary election, the Commission made the website available, providing a platform for the female candidates across party lines. The female candidates had the opportunity to present and profile themselves on this platform. The public was informed of the website by way of newspaper advertisements and promotional items. Again, a post-election survey of the female candidates is being conducted that has not yet been concluded.

The website is undergoing further development. The goal is to present as many women as possible on the website who are engaged in municipal and national politics. The goal is to encourage women from the municipalities to make themselves available for public office. Additionally, the discussion forum on the website will be redesigned.

Commission members at the municipal level

In preparation for the 2011 municipal elections, interviews have been conducted in the municipal information newsletters with female commission members since June 2009. The information newsletters of the municipalities appear three to four times a year. In this way, the Commission wants to motivate women to run for political office.

Article 8 Participation of women in the Government and international organizations

The share of women in the Government and in international organizations has risen in recent years, but still does not meet the principle of gender equality. Two women are represented in the current Liechtenstein Government. They are responsible for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Culture and for the Ministries of Social Affairs, Public Health, and Environmental Affairs, Land Use Planning, Agriculture and Forestry. Liechtenstein has established 11 diplomatic representations abroad and appointed 8 ambassadors. Two of these ambassadors are women. 13 men and 6 women serve in the various delegations of Parliament to the parliamentary assemblies of international organizations.

Article 10 Education

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 10:

...The Committee encourages the State party to systematically promote knowledge and understanding of the Convention and gender equality through its training programs.

The new Higher Education Act entered into force on 25 November 2004[14]. It is intended to make an important contribution to quality assurance and development in tertiary education in Liechtenstein and takes the internationalization of tertiary education into account, which was expressed in the Bologna Declaration (1999) of the European ministers of education. Due to the small size of the country, however, Liechtenstein’s tertiary education offerings are still limited. Only five recognized institutions offer tertiary education: the Hochschule Liechtenstein, the International Academy of Philosophy[15], the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein, the University of Science & Technology, and the Liechtenstein Institute. Although Liechtenstein has no public universities, a high-quality education of the population is ensured through cooperation with the neighboring States of Switzerland and Austria, as already emphasized in the 2nd periodic report.

Education statistics

Liechtenstein education statistics show that significant progress has been made in recent decades with respect to the equality of girls and young women in the education process. Just over 30 years ago, significantly more girls than boys attended the Realschule (medium-track secondary school) and significantly more boys than girls attended Gymnasium (academic secondary school), the share of girls in the Gymnasium has increased steadily and surpassed the share of boys in 2005. Girls and boys can thus be considered to have achieved equality in the area of scholastic education.

Table 6: Share of girls in different school levels

Primary school

Source: Office of Economic Affairs. Education Statistics 2008.

There has also been a clear trend toward equality in the area of tertiary education, i.e., universities. While only 12 of 128 university students were women in 1975, women have constituted almost half (43%) of university students in recent years. Compared with 1990, about 13% more women chose an academic career in 2000. Since then, the share of women among university students has stayed more or less the same. With respect to choice of subjects, Liechtenstein university students continue to follow rather traditional patterns. In 2007/08, 37% of female students studied humanities and social sciences, 23% law, and 13% medicine and pharmaceutics. Male colleagues primarily chose economics and business (26%), followed by humanities and social sciences (24%), law (17%), and exact and natural sciences (16%).

Table 7: Share of male and female students from Liechtenstein at universities in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany


Source: Office of Economic Affairs. Education Statistics 2005 – 2008.

In the field of basic vocational training (apprenticeships), a strong imbalance between young women and men continues to exists. In 2008, a total of 404 young people decided to begin basic professional training, of which 43% were women and 57% men. More than half of the young women began an apprenticeship in the areas of commerce/services/logistics, most of which were in the commercial field (fiduciary services, industry, banking). Most young men qualified themselves for skilled trades, such as construction, building services, and carpentry as well as industry and technical crafts. While women chose 45 of 85 different vocational training options, men were employed in 61 different types of apprenticeship. Overall, it is striking that the choice of career of both genders is still strongly based on the traditional distribution of female and male careers.

Table 8: Share of girls among apprenticeships

Girls in %

Source: Office of Vocational Training and Guidance. Number of apprenticeships, as of September 2008.

A total of 639 teachers (519 full-time equivalents) teach at Liechtenstein schools. Female teachers are in the clear majority, filling 65% of teaching positions and 60% of full-time equivalents. This is primarily due to the first two levels of schooling (kindergarten and primary school). In the higher school levels, the gender distribution balances out. At the Liechtenstein Gymnasium and in the 10th school year, the number of male teachers exceeds the number of female teachers.[16]

Existing measures since introduction of the new curriculum in 1999/2000 have been continued. The curriculum takes account of all gender equality aspects and contains the same offerings for girls and for boys. Media toolboxes are provided to teachers with specific instruction materials and materials to reflect on their own role behavior and role expectations. These materials assist teachers in ensuring gender equality in instruction.

Vocational guidance

In the field of vocational guidance, the motto “All careers for everyone” is an integrating component of information provided and parents and student evenings, introductions to the Career Information Center, and career and study selection seminars for academic secondary school graduates. The male and female designations of careers in German (e.g., Polsterer/Polsterin) are consistently used in conjunction.

Equality opportunity at the Hochschule Liechtenstein

The Commission for Gender and Diversity at the Hochschule Liechtenstein was founded in 2003. It represents women’s concerns as well as the topic of equal opportunity at the Hochschule, and it issues opinions on gender equality questions. The Commission works toward achieving a balanced representation of women and men in the operations, teaching, and research of the Hochschule. Members of the Hochschule are advised on questions concerning gender equality, and women can turn to the Counseling Office concerning problems relating to their studies, pregnancy, academic careers, stipends, conflicts in the workplace, and sexual harassment. Persons feeling discriminated on the basis of gender may turn to the Counseling Office in its function as an ombuds office. In all cases, the Counseling Office aims to achieve a concrete solution.

The Commission is currently involved in the following projects:

- Increasing the share of women in the operations, teaching, research and studies at the Hochschule

- Motherhood and day care

- Review of the general conditions of staff members with respect to work-life balance (part-time, substitution, career planning, etc.)

- Regulation on sexual harassment

With its project “Equal Opportunity at the Hochschule Liechtenstein,” the Commission for Gender and Equality received the 3rd prize in the 2006 project competition sponsored by the Liechtenstein Government.

Education of women as part of IHCD

Liechtenstein also promotes the education of women as part of its International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development (IHCD). For Liechtenstein’s engagement in IHCD, please see the remarks relating to article 3.

Continuing education on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, several continuing education events relating to human rights were organized in 2008/2009. More detailed information is provided in the remarks relating to article 24.

Article 11 Workplace, maternity, social insurance

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 16:

The Committee urges the State party to intensify its efforts to ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market, in both the public and private sectors. The Committee recommends that the State party take proactive measures to eliminate occupational segregation, such as the provision of enhanced educational and training opportunities for women, and continue to expand measures to facilitate women’s re-entry into the workforce after childbirth. The Committee recommends that the State party enforce and monitor the application of existing measures on equal pay for equal work and work of equal value, flexible work arrangements and part-time work in the public and private sectors and develop, as necessary, measures to counteract any possible adverse consequences of part-time work for women, especially in regard to their pension and retirement benefits. The Committee further urges the State party to ensure that measures to facilitate the reconciliation of family and work responsibilities be targeted at both women and men and to work towards greater involvement of men in domestic and care responsibilities. The State party should adopt measures that encourage fathers to make greater use of parental leave and consider creating financial incentives towards that end.

a) The employment of women

In summary, there has been a general trend toward increased employment of women and thus a convergence toward the employment behavior of men. Nevertheless, pronounced differences still exist, which appear clearly upon a more detailed analysis of employment, especially with respect to working hours and position in the hierarchy.

Employment/professional situation

Over the last five decades, the economic development of Liechtenstein has been characterized by an almost uninterrupted upswing. The number of jobs increased greatly during this time. Since the 1950’s, the domestic labor market has largely dried up, so that the increasing demand for workers could only be satisfied through immigration and the employment of cross-border commuters. According to data from the 2000 Census, the number of workers resident in Liechtenstein increased from slightly more than 4,000 in 1930 to over 18,000 in 2000.

Table 9: Employed inhabitants by sector and gender 2000, 2007

Sector 1
Sector 2
Sector 3
Women (in %)
Men (in %)
Women (in %)
Men (in %)

Source: Employment and Workplace Statistics 2000 and 2007.

While the total number of workers has approximately quadrupled in 70 years, the number of working women has even increased by a factor of seven. In the 1930’s, the share of women in the workforce was only about 25%; in 2000, women already constituted 44% of the workforce resident in Liechtenstein. This development was largely independent of the legal equality of women and men and began long before the introduction of women’s franchise in parallel with the economic development and the growing number of jobs.

Due to the rapidly increasing number of jobs, the employment of women is economically necessary, well-advanced, socially accepted, and a matter of course. Much less obvious for women is equal access to positions in the top levels of hierarchy, however.

Table 10: Workers by employment level, sector, and gender

Full time (90% or more)
Part time (50% to 89%)
Part time (15% to 49%)
Sector 1
Sector 2
Sector 3
Sector 1
Sector 2
Sector 3
Sector 1
Sector 2
Sector 3

Source: Office of Economic Affairs, Employment and Workplace Statistics 2007.

As of 31 December 2007 (2006) 20.2% (20.0%) of all workers or 6,548 (6,200) persons worked part-time. Of the 12,738 (12,017) employed women, 5,125 (4,910) or 40.2% (40.9%) worked part-time as of the reporting date, unlike men, of whom only 1,423 (1,290) or 7.2% (6.8%) worked part-time. Looking at part-time employees by sector, most part-time work was in the third sector, namely 5,353 (4,998) persons or 81.8% (80.6%) of all part-time employees.


The average annual unemployment rate of women at 3.3% was higher than that of men at 2.6%. Women were thus more strongly affected by unemployment. Over the course of the year 2007, the unemployment rate of women was the highest in January at 2.9% and the lowest in May at 2.8%. At the end of the year, it was 3.0%.

Table 11: Jobless and non-working persons in the permanent population by gender

Women in %
Men in %

Source: Office of Economic Affairs, Population Statistics 2006.

The comparison between the genders shows that the share of women among unemployed persons with foreign citizenship was 48.2%. Among unemployed persons with Liechtenstein citizenship, the share of women was somewhat lower, at 46.0%. Among men, 27.3% were 50 years of age or older, while the share among women was only 22.9%.[17]

Wage inequality

After the first publication of the Liechtenstein Wage Statistics in 2008, the second edition was published in April 2009, based on figures from 2006. The purpose of the Wage Statistics is to gain better insight into the wage structure of the workers employed in Liechtenstein and to make internationally comparable data available.

In 2006, the median gross salary of persons employed in Liechtenstein was CHF 5,885. Compared with the wage level in Switzerland, the Liechtenstein gross salary was 4% above the gross salary according to the Swiss wage structure survey in October 2006.

The persons in the lowest fourth of the wage scale earned CHF 4,534 or less per month in 2006, while the persons in the top fourth received gross monthly salaries of CHF 7,870 or more. The salaries in the lowest fourth were thus 23% or more below the median gross monthly salary of CHF 5,885. The salaries in the top fourth began 34% above the median gross monthly salary.

Extrapolated to full-time working hours, the gross monthly salary of women was 20% lower than that of men in 2006. Among women, the median salary was CHF 5,176, while the median salary among men reached CHF 6,468. The percentage wage difference between women and men is slightly higher in Liechtenstein than in Switzerland. The Swiss wage structure survey in 2006 shows a wage difference of 18.9% between women and men. When evaluating wage differences, however, it should be taken into account that these are partially due to objective factors such as age, education, sector and requirements of the job. According to a survey carried out in 2008 on behalf of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office and the Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality, nearly 40% of the average wage difference between the genders in Switzerland must be considered wage discrimination. About 60% of the wage difference can be explained by so-called endowment effects, i.e. women earned less because they were underrepresented in more demanding positions and management functions and because they tended to work in lower-wage sectors. On average, women also had lower education levels, were younger, and had less enterprise-specific experience than men. Since the overall percentage wage difference between women and men in Liechtenstein is in a similar range as in Switzerland, and since the two labor markets are closely linked, it can be assumed that also in Liechtenstein wage differences between women and men exist, even given the same job requirements.

Figure 1: Median gross salaries of women and men, 2006

CHF 6’468

CHF 5’176

CHF 5’885


CHF 1’000

CHF 2’000

CHF 3’000

CHF 4’000

CHF 5’000

CHF 6’000

CHF 7’000





Source: Office of Statistics, Wage Statistics 2006.

Wage discrimination is actionable under the Gender Equality Act. Since entry into force of the Gender Equality Act, one wage claim has been filed in the public sector. The wage discrimination was confirmed by the Government. The case was appealed to the Liechtenstein Administrative Court, which confirmed the Government decision. The employer was required to make retroactive wage payments to the complainant. Based on the current data situation, no certain information can be given on any claims lodged pursuant to the Gender Equality Act in the private sector.

In July 2006, the Government mandated the Working Group for the Promotion of Gender Equality and the Office of Equal Opportunity to conduct a survey on the wage difference between women and men in the National Administration. The statistical evaluation of the wage data indicated no wage discrimination. Existing wage differences can be explained by membership in different wage categories in accordance with the applicable terms of reference of the National Administration. The variance within the wage categories is mainly due to age. The still substantial wage difference between women and men was substantially due to overrepresentation of women in lower wage categories and underrepresentation in higher wage categories. This is particularly true for older women, while hardly any differences among younger women and men could be detected. The Liechtenstein National Administration can thus be considered exemplary with respect to the wage equality of women and men. The wage difference is not directly due to discrimination, since men on average are employed in higher positions and therefore generally earn more. The difference between the average wages of women and men is greater, the older the age group. The average wage of women and men among younger birth years up to approximately the 30th year of age is practically the same. For later ages, the average wages diverge. Among women, 30- to 40-year-olds earn the most. Older women earn less, probably mainly due to their lower level of education, less demanding functions, and accordingly classification into lower wage categories.

Equal pay day

The Office of Equal Opportunity provided financial and non-tangible support for the first “Equal pay day” organized for the first time on 10 March 2009 by the Business and Professional Women Club (BPW). An information stand in the center of Vaduz drew attention to the fact that women in 2009 had to work 49 days longer, i.e. until March 10, to earn as much as men.

Activities of the National Administration to promote women in the workplace

With a Government resolution of 14 March 2007, the Office of Human and Administrative Resources was mandated to recommend more women to management positions where qualifications are the same or equivalent, in order to achieve stronger representation of women in management positions.

The Working Group for the Promotion of Gender Equality in the National Administration was mandated by a Government resolution in September 2008 to prepare various priority implementation measures in collaboration with the Office of Human and Administrative Resources and to recommend them to the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunity. These include an evaluation of absences of staff members due to sickness or accident (full-time and part-time female and male employees), sensitization of supervisors via the Conference of Office Directors, and creation of a new contact and counseling office for working time and family questions within the Office of Human and Administrative Resources.

b) Measures to achieve equality of women in the workplace

The Gender Equality Act issued on 5 May 1999 and revised in 2006 is the Liechtenstein instrument for implementation of de facto equality of women and men in the workplace (see remarks relating to article 2). Since entry into force of the Gender Equality Act, various efforts have been undertaken to bring it closer to the wider public.

Information campaign on the Gender Equality Act

Since the last revision of the Gender Equality Act[18] for purposes of implementing Directive 2002/73/EC, an information campaign for employees and employers has been conducted. The campaign was launched in November 2006 by the Office of Equal Opportunity in collaboration with infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women and the Liechtenstein Employees’ Association (LANV). The Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Wirtschaftskammer Liechtenstein, and the Liechtenstein Bankers Association provide non-financial support to the project. The campaign continuously provides information to employees about their rights via case examples in the national newspapers and the Internet. Employers are informed about their obligations via flyers. For the launch of the campaign, the information brochure “Gender Equality is Worth It” and the brochure “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” were reissued and distributed to about 400 businesses (all businesses with more than 10 employees). The seven flyers and five case examples published so far are available on the websites of the Office of Equal Opportunity, infra, and the LANV. The 5th flyer on the topics of wage equality and protection against dismissal was published in June 2008, the 6th flyer on “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” in October 2008, and the flyer on “Discriminatory Non-Hiring” in March 2009. Employees are made aware of the case examples via advertisements in the newspapers and newspaper articles. The flyers are mailed to the businesses and administrative offices. About 25 businesses have reordered flyers and the abovementioned brochures (about 150 copies).

Sexual harassment in the workplace

In November 2006, the brochure entitled “Not With Me! - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” was revised and published for the second time. Its primary objective is to draw attention to the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace continues to exist, and thereby to support the prevention of sexual harassment. The brochure contains a definition of sexual harassment, lists examples, and explains effects and consequences of harassment as well as successful response measures. The brochure refers to the legal possibilities of defending oneself against sexual harassment in accordance with sexual criminal law[19] and the responsibility of employers laid down in the Gender Equality Act to ensure a working environment free from harassment.

NGO activities

The Gender Equality Act provides that financial support may be granted for counseling and advancement programs relating to gender equality in the working life. Accordingly, infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women received financial support for counseling and public outreach on the Gender Equality Act between 2000 and 2008. The Liechtenstein Employees’ Association also received financial support in 2007 and 2008 for counseling and public outreach. The survey conducted by the Women’s Educational Work Association on gender-specific differences between young female entrepreneurs and young male entrepreneurs also received financial support.

c) Compatibility of family and career

The question of compatibility of family and career affects women and increasingly also men. Many women in Liechtenstein now have good professional qualifications, so they no longer want to give up their employment completely in favor of household and child-raising. On the other hand, an increasing number of men want to become more heavily engaged in family work. A collaborative distribution of family work and employment is therefore becoming increasingly important. To be able to implement this distribution of family work and employment in everyday life, employers must be willing to offer women and men family-friendly structures in the workplace. The greatest obstacle to the compatibility of family and employment is therefore the lack of willingness in the private sector to create better framework conditions.

Equal Opportunity Prize

In addition to legal and institutional measures, awareness-raising measures and the promotion of private initiatives are key tools of Liechtenstein equality policy. For instance, the Equal Opportunity Prize offered by the Government each year since 2000 recognizes activities relating to the advancement of women and since 2008 also activities relating to disabilities, migration/integration, age, social disadvantages, and sexual orientation. To take account of the promotion of gender equality, project applicants are called upon to apply the gender mainstreaming strategy in the development and implementation of their projects. The 2008 prize was awarded to the Liechtenstein Association for People With Disabilities and its “Talent Swap Meet” project, the 2009 prize to the Gutenberg Education House for its “Intercultural Competence Course”. The call for applications for the Equal Opportunity Prize is sent directly to about 600 businesses, administrative offices, and organizations in Liechtenstein.

SME Working Life and Family Manual

Small and medium enterprises are important employers. They contribute to decisions determining the future of family-friendly structures. Compatibility of family and career is an important social concern. Demographic developments call for new, joint solutions between women and men in their private lives and in their careers. SMEs may not have the same resources as large companies, but they have other trumps at their disposal. This is shown in the SME Working Life and Family Manual, which supports SMEs in implementing family-friendly management in their everyday operations. The Manual was taken over from Switzerland and supplemented with Liechtenstein-specific information. The legislation governing parental leave, maternity leave, and provisions on part-time work, pension schemes, and insurances diverge in part from the Swiss regulations. It was important for employers and employees to have access at a glance to the Liechtenstein regulations.

In a letter sent in September 2007 by the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunity, all enterprises with 10 or more employees (nearly 400 business and administrative offices) were invited to obtain the Manual free of charge. The Manual has now be sent out approximately 120 times. The Manual was also presented to the media.

In May 2009, the first SME Week in Liechtenstein was carried out with different events. The SME Manual and the brochure on gender equality in businesses was made available during the event series.

Postulate concerning promotion of the family

On 19 April 2006, Members of Parliament submitted a postulate concerning promotion of the family. Parliament forwarded the postulate to the Government with questions concerning the following topics: introduction of education allowance; effectiveness of parental leave; better compatibility of family and career; creation of additional tax incentives; reduction of financial burden on families; pension claims arising from child-raising; creation of foundations for family promotion measures.

In its response to the postulate on 21 August 2007, the measures proposed by the Government included the following:

Day school and support structures for children in kindergarten and schools:

One day school should be established in both the Lower Country and the Upper Country. In addition to the day schools, projects should be launched and supported at the municipal level. In the medium-term, the offerings should be made available across the country.

Adjustment of allowances:

The adjustment (due to inflation) of family and single parent allowances as well as birth allowances should be reviewed on a regular basis, at least once every five years. (An increase of the child and single parent allowances as well as the birth allowance was already adopted by Parliament on 14 March 2007, retroactive to 1 January 2007.)

Role models:

The State should honor role models such as family-friendly businesses and child-friendly facilities.

Family Council:

The Family Council is intended to accompany family policy developments and to provide impulses and suggestions for further measures. Its responsibility is to do justice to the bandwidth and complexity of family promotion. The Family Council is composed of a management body and a subcommittee. The following family policy topics and measures are to be discussed in the Family Council and implemented as concrete measures: dismissal rules including maternity protection and workplace guarantee during pregnancy and maternity; proposed new rules governing the payment practice of family allowances pursuant to review of family policy transfer payments abroad; development of foundations for financial old-age security of non-working parents; possibility of extension of parental leave; attitude changes at the social level.

Care of children outside the home

An affordable system of care of children outside the home improves the compatibility of family and career as well as equal opportunity in the workplace. While there were only 58 day care spots in Liechtenstein in 2000, the capacity of day care centers increased to 117 by 2003, 140 by 2005, and now 143. Day care in Liechtenstein is already characterized by good, high-quality offerings. A survey on the situation of families has shown, however, that there are still unmet needs, especially concerning the flexibility of the offerings. The Government has issued a mandate to establish one day school each in the Lower Country and in the Upper Country. Additionally, the Government mandated the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunity to implement the concept for day structures outside the school.

Since the beginning of 2002, the employees of the National Administration are where possible provided with a spot at the day care center run the National Administration. The Day Care Association of Liechtenstein is responsible for the management, organization, staffing, and administration of the day nursery. The National Administration provides the infrastructure and covers the annual operating deficit. Since January 2004, one Liechtenstein company offers internal day care with 13 spots according to the National Administration’s model.

By the end of December 2007, a concept for day structures outside the school in the municipalities of Triesen and Eschen was drafted. The goal of the concept is to create a day structure supplementing school for children from the age of 4 to the beginning of the secondary school level. Since 2009, day structures have been available in Eschen, offered in collaboration with the Day Care Association of Liechtenstein. Beginning in August 2009, this service will also be available in Triesen.

In August 2008, the municipality of Schaan launched the first public day school in Liechtenstein with a class of 14 children for the 2008/2009 school year. A similar model is being discussed in Vaduz, possibly starting in the 2009/2010 school year. Day schools are not an alternative to day structures, but rather a supplementary offering. While day structures offer care outside of school hours (day care, homework hours at school, etc.) that can be put together as needed, day schools must be considered a comprehensive model. Children accepted into a day school are generally obliged to participate in the entire program. The day school model is based on a pedagogical concept in which school hours and free time flow seamlessly into each other and cannot be separated into distinct phases. The two models must therefore be clearly distinguished. In addition to the day school trial, Schaan will continue to offer an extensive range of day structures, including day care and homework hours on four afternoons.

The project “SchoolPlus – Living and Learning in Planken” only became possible thanks to cooperation with the Association for Child Care and Small Schools. Both are autonomous organizations whose intensive and good cooperation provides a small school with day school structures for children from other municipalities. In total, this means that five of the eleven municipalities in Liechtenstein have introduced or plan to introduce day school models or day school structures.

Reentering the workforce

The Vocational Guidance Center offers free, individualized, and differentiated career counseling for women reentering the workforce. Counseling includes an assessment of the individual situation, including a psychological aptitude and qualification evaluation.

In 2007, the Labor Market Service of the Office of Economic Affairs developed a program for women wanting to reenter the workforce after their family phase. The program encompasses the following goals: targeted training in social and technical competences; communication; rediscovering, strengthening, refining, and further developing one’s own resources. The focus areas include situation analysis, orientation, recognition of self-worth, transferring self-worth into realization, communication, job applications, freshening up computer skills, non-verbal communication, analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses, setting up a plan for the future, conflict management, and an internship. The half-day program lasts nine weeks. A day care center is available where needed. After a pilot project with 15 job reentrants in 2009, the program has now been institutionalized. It is offered four times a year.

Interpellation concerning family and career in Liechtenstein

On 20 September 2006, Members of Parliament submitted an interpellation with 13 questions concerning family and career in Liechtenstein. The Government responded to the interpellation on 31 October 2006. Questions were answered concerning the employment structure of women and men with and without children; career-leaving after the birth of children; reentry after maternity; reduction of employment hours due to maternity; utilization of parental leave; employment of single parents; number of children taken care of outside the home; public expenditures for families; development of expenditures in recent years; employment patterns in couple households (full-time, part-time).

d) Social insurances

The Liechtenstein social security system does not discriminate directly on the basis of gender. In some areas, however, the system only reaches people who are employed, and its benefits depend on the amount of income generated. The differences between women’s and men’s work situation (lower employment among women, greater interruptions, much more pervasive part-time work, limited career choice, lower wages) thus entail that women receive lower benefits than men in some areas of social insurance.

It is especially important for women to think about their financial situation in old age. Autonomous old-age provision above the subsistence level can only be achieved through a women’s own, continuous employment or indirectly via her husband. Financial security arrangements for old age must depend on the family and employment situation. In Liechtenstein, infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women offers personal counseling especially for women. In cooperation with infra, the Office of Equal Opportunity organized two information evenings in 2003 on the topic of “Old Age Provision – What Women Need to Know”. On the first evening, State Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance (AHV) as the first pillar of the Liechtenstein pension system was presented. On the second evening, occupational pension funds and private savings (2nd and 3rd pillars) were discussed. The infra brochure “Old Age Provision – What Women Need to Know” introduces the three-pillar model of the State Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance (AHV) system and the old-age provision situation for women depending on their phase in life, along with important contact information. The information evenings were hosted by infra again in 2008.

Article 12 Health

In general, Liechtenstein’s compulsory health insurance and unimpeded access to medical services guarantees good health care.

a) General health services

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 26:

...The Committee also encourages the State party to carefully monitor the delivery of health services in order that it may respond in a gender-sensitive manner to all health concerns of women and in this regard invites the State party to utilize the Committee’s general recommendation 24 as a framework for action to ensure that all health policies and programs integrate a gender perspective.

Every five years, persons age 17 and over receive a written invitation from the Office of Public Health for a preventive check-up. Women receive an additional invitation every 2 1/2 years for a gynecological preventive check-up. If needed, this check-up also includes consultation on family planning. The doctor’s office will arrange any follow-up examinations. Persons over the age of 70 – who previously could continue to participate upon their own request – now are regularly invited to preventive check-ups. The age limit was abolished by way of an ordinance. Preventive check-ups are voluntary and free of charge.

Women in childbed who were not employed by an employer during their pregnancy, i.e. who may not claim daily allowances for maternity from compulsory health allowance insurance or continued salary payments from their employer, may instead claim publicly funded maternity allowances. is a psychosocial, specialized counseling office that offers – anonymously when desired – free advice and support. In addition to counseling on pregnancy conflicts, the office also offers advice on the following topics: family planning, pregnancy, prenatal tests, miscarriage, unwanted childlessness, and sexual education.

Contraception, which is legal in Liechtenstein, is not publicly funded.

The Liechtenstein Cancer Society offers meetings once a month for persons affected by breast cancer.

b) Abortion

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 26:

The Committee recommends that the State party consider reviewing the laws relating to abortion with a view to removing punitive provisions for women who undergo abortion, in line with the Committee’s general recommendation 24 on women and health and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action...

Except for serious endangerment of the pregnant woman or pregnancies of women under the age of 14, abortion is subject to punishment in Liechtenstein (§§ 96 et seqq. StGB). Since it must be assumed that abortions are obtained abroad, there is a widespread view that punishment is not an effective protection of nascent life. A working group is dealing with the subject of pregnancy conflicts and is searching for sustainable solutions. The focus is on the protection of unborn life, the protection of the pregnant woman, and decriminalization. A popular vote in November 2005 decided to amend article 27 of the constitution to include the obligation to respect and protect human dignity and to expressly recognize the right of every person to life (LGBl. 2005 No. 267). Numerous institutions provide psychosocial counseling in the event of pregnancy conflicts.

c) Contraception and AIDS prevention

In addition to counseling on sexuality and HIV/AIDS, the Bureau for Sexual Matters and HIV Prevention offers various information programs. The Bureau provides gender-specific counseling in schools and youth centers for young women going through puberty. The content of its youth work includes sex education topics such as first menstruation, partner relationships, masturbation, first sexual intercourse, homosexuality, and pornography. Under the heading of “More desire than frustration”, courses on the development of female sexuality are offered.

In cooperation with the youth information office “aha – Tips and Info for Young People” and the Gutenberg House, the Bureau for Sexual Matters and HIV Prevention offers “Girl Power Days” and “Boy Power Days”. These are gender-specific offerings for girls and boys going through puberty. The Boy Power Days for 12- to 13-year-old boys cover the four areas of body knowledge and changes in puberty; dealing with aggression; male role images; and sexuality, contraception, and protection in relationships. During the Girl Power Days, girls between 11 and 13 deal with topics such as friendship, “My Body”, puberty, menstruation, and ejaculation. The goals are to promote awareness, improve communication abilities, and expand behavioral competence. The Girl Power Days/Boy Power Days project was runner-up for the 2004 Gender Equality Prize.

The fight against HIV/AIDS is a focus of International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development. As part of its multilateral development cooperation, Liechtenstein supports various global initiatives and programs, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as UNAIDS. HIV/AIDS is also a central component of most health-related projects of the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED).

d) Drugs and rehabilitation programs

Study on drug consumption of young people in Liechtenstein

The first Liechtenstein youth study, which was carried out in 1999, also included questions on the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco. This provided the first empirically verified data material on the consumption of stimulants and addictive drugs by 12- to 20-year-old Liechtensteiners.

No additional research were conducted in the following years. For several reasons, it appeared necessary to carry out a new study in 2005. A comprehensive survey was conducted, i.e. as many young people as possible between the ages of 12 and 19 were questioned. First, current prevalence data concerning drug consumption of young people in Liechtenstein was collected. Additionally, current data was compared with the 1999 data, in order to assess whether changes had occurred with respect to prevalence of drug consumption or consumption patterns in the six intervening years. The study is embedded in the addiction prevention campaign “YOU say how”[20].

In June 2008, the study on the drug consumption of young people in Liechtenstein was published. Some results from the study:

- Alcohol (life time prevalence):

15% of 12-year-olds had already had first experiences with alcohol, with some gender differences. 19% of boys and 12% of girls had consumed alcohol at least once. At age 13, the relative prevalence flipped. At that age, significantly more girls (39%) than boys (28%) had had alcohol at least once. 3% of 14-year-olds and 7% of 15-year-olds had been drunk at least 20 times in their life already. From the age of 14, boys got drunk more often than girls.

- Nicotine (life time prevalence):

20% of boys and 14% of girls had smoked tobacco at least once by the age of 12. At the age of 13, the relative prevalence flipped.

- Illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals (life time prevalence):

Entry into illegal drug consumption was primarily at the age of 15. One quarter (27%) of boys and one third (31%) of girls had had illegal drugs at least once by that age. Overall, boys more frequently had experience with illegal drugs than girls. This gender-specific difference was particular prominent among 17-year-olds.

The focus of the addiction campaign “YOU say how”, which ran for three years (mid-2006 to mid2009) is on alcohol and tobacco prevention. The main emphasis is on strengthening self-responsibility and the responsibility of parents.

Article 13 Other areas of economic and social life

Although Liechtenstein is a wealthy country, low-income population groups exist. In particular single parents (especially single mothers) with children, but also families with multiple children and only one working parent are often confronted with financial challenges. Families in Liechtenstein are therefore supported by various measures (see remarks relating to article 5(b)).

If, despite the relief mentioned under article 5(b), the income of the parents is not sufficient to cover the costs of living for family members, the affected persons may apply for income support (welfare) from the Liechtenstein State. Financial support is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a reasonable expenditure of the family’s own efforts and resources.

Participation in cultural life and the achievements of scientific progress is guaranteed equally in Liechtenstein to women and men.

Article 14 Promotion of women in rural areas

Liechtenstein has no remote and rural areas as referred to in article 14, so that no special promotion measures are provided within the country. However, Liechtenstein development cooperation is primarily engaged in rural and structurally weak regions abroad.

Article 16 Marriage and family

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 24:

The Committee encourages the State party to review its current legal system governing marriage and family relations with a view to extending existing legal provisions to couples living in de facto unions.

The following context should be noted with respect to the remarks below: Liechtenstein is currently undertaking the elaboration of a law on the registration of same-sex couples. This legislative project is still at a very early stage. The proposal is expected to be circulated for consultations in the summer or autumn of 2009 at the latest. The date of entry into force has not yet been determined. Nevertheless, the new law will brings about several changes that are already referred to below.

In the course of elaboration of the new Liechtenstein domestic partnership law, it has turned out that a precise definition of terms is indispensable. The term “concubinage” has not been uncontroversial for quite some time. While it used to be clearly confined to unmarried heterosexual couples, it has been expanded due to recent social developments in many places, such as Switzerland, to include unmarried homosexual couples as well.

For this reason, the consultation draft of the new Domestic Partnership Act defines the following terms to be used in future:

- Marriage: Spouse (only heterosexual couples)

- Registered partnership: Registered partner (only homosexual couples)

- De facto union: Persons in a de facto union (both heterosexual and homosexual couples)

The term “de facto union” thus refers to two persons in a marriage-like relationship who have not decided to enter into marriage or a registered partnership. This term will henceforth be used in Liechtenstein instead of “concubinage”.

These preliminary remarks serve merely the purpose of clarification. The following explanations refer solely to unmarried heterosexual couples.

Couples living together without being married do not meet with social disapproval in Liechtenstein. De facto (heterosexual) union is rather a very widespread form of life, especially among young couples. In some areas of the law, these couples are disadvantaged in comparison with married couples. However, married couples are also disadvantaged in some areas in comparison with unmarried couples. For instance, married couples may experience tax disadvantages. Where unmarried couples desire to secure their mutual financial and legal relations, they have the option of governing these aspects contractually. Infra – the Information and Contact Office for Women provides an information brochure on de facto union (currently still referred to as “concubinage”), which specifically addresses the circumstances in Liechtenstein and is available free of charge on the Internet. In recent years, some improvements have been achieved with respect to the situation of persons in de facto unions. For some years, for instance, Liechtenstein citizens and resident Swiss and EEA citizens have been able to obtain residence for their foreign life partners under certain circumstances. Since amendment of the Law on Pension Insurance for State Employees, which entered into force on 1 January 2009, life partners of insured persons may claim a life partner pension in the event of death of the insured. The new inheritance law will eliminate its restriction to spouses and fiancé(e)s, and both unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex couples will be able to benefit from the new inheritance law (see also the remarks relating to article 2).

Further improvements for unmarried heterosexual couples are to be expected within the framework of the abovementioned Domestic Partnership Act. While the legal rules governing unmarried heterosexual couples were deliberately omitted from the Domestic Partnership Act, the overall project will include several legal rules for unmarried heterosexual couples as well. For instance, they will be granted the right to refuse to testify in the same way as spouses and registered couples. The fact that a person can be forced to provide incriminating evidence against their permanent partner is unacceptable and not likely to improve the truth-finding process. Accordingly, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Civil Procedure will be amended within the framework of the new Domestic Partnership Law.

Article 24 Public outreach

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 10:

The Committee urges the State party to place greater emphasis, in its efforts to achieve gender equality, on the Convention as a legally binding and directly applicable human rights instrument. It also calls upon the State party to take proactive measures to enhance awareness of the Convention, in particular among women and men in the judiciary and the legal profession, political parties, Parliament and Government officials at all levels, including law enforcement officials, in order to strengthen its use in the development and implementation of all legislation, policies and programs aimed at the practical realization of the principle of equality between women and men...

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 31:

The Committee requests the wide dissemination in Liechtenstein of the present concluding comments in order to make the people, including government officials, politicians, parliamentarians and women’s and human rights organizations, aware of the steps that have been taken to ensure de jure and de facto equality of women and of the further steps that are required in that regard. The Committee requests the State party to continue to disseminate widely, in particular to women’s and human rights organizations, the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s general recommendations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

To improve public awareness of the Convention, a press release was published on the presentation of Liechtenstein’s second and third period report on the Convention on 26 July 2007 and on the recommendations of the Committee in August 2007. The country report and the recommendations are also available to the public on the Internet ( and The recommendations, together with an accompanying letter, were brought directly to the attention of the relevant administrative offices, the Court of Justice, the Chamber of Lawyers, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Wirtschaftskammer, Parliament, the organizations represented in the Women’s Network, the political parties, and the Liechtenstein Employees’ Association (LANV).

60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, numerous activities were organized between August and December 2008. In addition to extensive reporting in newspapers and magazines, continuing education offerings and cultural events were organized. At all events, the central importance of human rights was emphasized and the target audience sensitized accordingly.

Continuing education opportunities:

The program for the anniversary year included a continuing education course on the topic of “Philosophy of Human Rights” and a lecture at the Liechtenstein Institute entitled “Human Rights and Human Duties – 60 Years after the UN Declaration of Human Rights.” Additionally, courses for staff members and interns of the National Administration were offered. Finally, secondary schools in particular took the anniversary year as an opportunity to explore the topic of human rights in depth.


On the occasion of the anniversary, articles with a focus on human rights appeared in both national newspapers, the magazine Blickwechsel published by the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED), the youth magazine flash, the employee magazine of the National Administration FLIP, and the school newspaper Schule heute.

Cultural program:

In addition to the continuing education opportunities and the information in the newspapers and magazines, various cultural events were organized. In December 2008, Filmclub Takino presented a film series on human rights. On 9 December, the day before Human Rights Day, the anniversary year was concluded with a festival with the motto: “Your Rights – Human Rights for Everyone.”

Discussions with Members of Parliaments

Since March 2007, the Office of Equal Opportunity has organized two annual discussion rounds with the female Members of Parliament on a topic of current interest. In this framework crossing party lines, the Members of Parliament discussed the CEDAW recommendations in May 2008 and explored how the recommendations could be given greater weight in Liechtenstein.


On the official website of Liechtenstein,, the chapters on Foreign Policy, Human Rights, and Women’s Rights report in detail on Liechtenstein’s engagement in the field of human rights. The information includes all country reports and recommendations.

Article 28 Reservations

Recommendation of the CEDAW Committee, no. 12:

The Committee encourages the State party to discuss its reservation to article 1 of the Convention with the autonomous Princely House of Liechtenstein with a view to its withdrawal.

This recommendation relates to the line of succession in the Princely House. The Law on the Princely House denies the line of succession to women. Article 3 of the Liechtenstein Constitution reserves to the Law on the Princely House matters concerning the hereditary line of succession in the Princely House of Liechtenstein, the age of majority of the Reigning Prince and the Hereditary Prince, as well as any applicable guardianship. In this way, the State recognizes the autonomy of the Princely House to determine these matters relevant to the State by way of the Law on the Princely House. The Law on the Princely House is autonomous statutory law, a source of law outside the regular legislation of the State. It should also be noted that in practice, the applicable provision (article 12) of the Law on the Princely House has not discriminated against the female members of the Princely House, since the first-born children of the former, current, and future Reigning Princes have all been male.

Appendix 1: Legal provisions

All legal texts can be accessed on the website (only in German).

General Civil Code of 1 June 1811, published pursuant to the Law of 5 October 1967 on the Rectification of the Legal Provisions Enacted prior to 1 January 1963, LGBl. No. 34.

Law of 30 January 1961 on National and Municipal Taxes (Tax Act), LGBl. 1961 No. 7.

Law of 18 December 1985 on Family Allowances (Family Allowances Act), LGBl. 1986 No. 28

Law of 20 October 1987 on Occupational Pensions (Occupational Pensions Act), LGBl. 1988 No. 12.

Law of 20 December 1988 on Pension Insurance for State Employees (Pension Insurance Act), LGBl. 1989 No. 7.

Law of 10 March 1999 on the Equality of Women and Men (Gender Equality Act), LGBl. 1999 No. 96

Law of 25 November 2004 on Higher Education (Higher Education Act), LGBl. 2005 No. 2.

Law of 25 October 2006 on the Equality of People with Disabilities (Equality Act for People with Disabilities), LGBl. 2006 No. 243.

Law of 26 April 2007 on International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development (IHCD Act), LGBl. 2007 No. 149.

Law of 24 November 2006 on Supervision of Institutions for Occupational Retirement (Pension Funds Act), LGBl. 2007, Nr. 11.

Law of 22 June 2007 on Assistance to Victims of Crimes (Victims Assistance Act), LGBl. 2007 No. 228

Law of 2. April 2008 on the Employment of State Employees (State Employees Act), LGBl. 2008 No. 144.

Law of 17 September 2008 on Foreigners (Foreigners Act), LGBl. 2008 No. 311.

Law of the Princely House of Liechtenstein of 26 October 1993, LGBl. 1993 No. 100.

Criminal Code (StGB) of 24 June 1987, LGBl. 1988 No. 37.

Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) of 18 October 1988, LGBl. 1988 No. 62.

Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein of 5 October 1921, LGBl. 1921 No. 15.

Ordinance of 16 December 2008 on the Admission and Stay of Foreigners, LGBl. 2008 No. 350.

Appendix 2: Contributions by Liechtenstein to women’s projects in developing countries in the years 2006-2009 [21]

Contribution (in CHF)
Day care center in Afghanistan
Contribution to UNIFEM for the promotion of women in peace processes
Granja Hogar women’s education center (Bolivia)
Promotion of women in the region of Thiès (Senegal)
Lupane women’s center (Zimbabwe)
Health and nutrition of mothers and children (Burkina Faso)
ODIHR Program on Human Rights, Women and Security in Central Asia
Project for women, children, and education in Senegal
Support for women in the field of fishing in Senegal
Contribution to general budget of Women’s World Summit Foundation
Vocational training center CETA – training for women (Bolivia)
CIDEM – Women’s lives without domestic and sexual violence (Bolivia)
Granja Hogar women’s education center (Bolivia)
Lupane women’s center (Zimbabwe)
Voluntary contribution to general budget of UNIFEM
Health and nutrition of mothers and children (Burkina Faso)
Housing for mothers and children in prison (Moldova)
Support for women’s home in Prizren (Kosovo)
Contribution to general budget of Women’s World Summit Foundation
Vocational training center CETA – training for women (Bolivia)
CIDEM – Women’s lives without domestic and sexual violence (Bolivia)
Counter-trafficking (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
UNIFEM Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women
Granja Hogar women’s education center (Bolivia)
Lupane women’s center (Zimbabwe)
Voluntary contribution to general budget of UNIFEM
Support program for women in Parwan province (Afghanistan)
Basic education for young women in Parwan province (Afghanistan)
UNIFEM Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women
Granja Hogar women’s education center (Bolivia)
Women’s construction cooperatives (Bolivia)
Lupane women’s center (Zimbabwe)
Voluntary contribution to general budget of UNIFEM
IPTK – Women as entrepreneurs (Bolivia)
Support program for women in Parwan province (Afghanistan)


[1] The European Economic Area (EEA) includes the 27 Member States of the European Union and 3 of the Member States of EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway).


[3] Law of 22 June 2007 on Assistance to Victims of Crimes (Victims Assistance Act, VAA), Liechtenstein Law Gazette LGBl. 2007 No. 228.

[4] Criminal Code of 24 June 1987 (StGB), LGBl. 1988 No. 37.

[5] Law of 17 September 2008 on Foreigners (Foreigners Act, AuG), LGBl. 2008 No. 311.

[6] Law of 26 April 2007 on International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development (IHCD Act), LGBl. 2007 No. 149.

[7] Law of 18 December 1985 on Family Allowances, LGBl. 1986 No. 28.

[8] Law of 10 March 1999 amending the Family Allowance Act, LGBl. 1999 No. 98.

[9] Law of 30 January 1961 on National and Municipal Taxes (Tax Act), LGBl. 1961 No. 7.

[10] Second Poverty Report, Low Income and Social Disadvantage, Office of Social Affairs, July 2008.

[11] Code of Criminal Procedure of 18 October 1988 (StPO); LGBl. 1988 No. 62.

[12] Fundamental decision on article 16(e) of the Ordinance on the Admission and Stay of Foreigners (RA 2008/3368-2532); formerly: Fundamental decision on article 54, paragraph 1(h) of the Ordinance on the Movement of Persons (PVO), LGBl. 2004 No. 253 (RA 2005/28-2510).

[13] Ordinance of 16 December 2008 on the Admission and Stay of Foreigners, LGBl. 2008 No. 350.

[14] Law of 25 November 2004 on Higher Education (Higher Education Act; HSG), LGBl. 2005 No. 2.

[15] Teaching currently on hold.

[16] Source: Office of Economic Affairs, Education Statistics 2008.

[17] Source: Office of Economic Affairs, Unemployment Statistics 2007.

[18] Law of 10 March 1999 on the Equality of Women and Men, LGBl. 1999 No. 96.

[19] Law of 13 December 2000 amending the Criminal Code (Sexual Offenses Act), LGBl. 2001 No. 16.

[20] In Liechtenstein dialect: “DU sescht wia”.

[21] As of mid-2009.

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