,  Press Release

Timea Bacsinszky and Benjamin Décosterd agree that gender equality has not yet been achieved in the worlds of sport and culture

During the PostFinance RealTalk held in Lausanne on 15 June 2023, former professional tennis player Timea Bacsinszky and writer and columnist Benjamin Décosterd discussed the subject “The gender pay gap: why money matters” with host Margaux Habert. This was the first RealTalk held in French-speaking Switzerland, following the inaugural event in Zurich last January.

Both speakers revealed that they had no issues discussing money with their partners and went on to address the topic of equal pay in their respective fields of sport and culture. Following the Swiss women’s strike on 14 June, the debate pivoted naturally towards women’s rights and equal opportunities, which looks very different in their two fields. On the subject of parental leave, for example, Benjamin would support the idea that “both parents should be required to take the same amount of leave for two or three generations. If leave can be divided flexibly, it risks perpetuating the habit that it’s the woman who stays at home for longer.” The speakers found common ground on the matter of independence, which they feel “allows us to set our own prices.”

“Delegating financial matters to focus on my career”

For Timea Bacsinszky, money has never really been her main driver – her profession is her passion. It was only when she moved away from home that she realized: “I had to start managing my money myself, which quickly became a major source of stress. I then realized that, as an athlete, I would need to work out how to delegate financial matters so that I could focus on my career, training and tournaments.” In the world of sport, earnings don’t just depend on performance, but also on sponsorship contracts: “There’s still a lot of work to be done on this point. Sponsors still judge female tennis players too often on their physical appearance, whereas for men, it’s really their performance that’s the main concern,” says former professional tennis player turned coach Timea Bacsinszky, who is thrilled about how popular tennis has become in Switzerland and abroad.

“In La Revue de Lausanne, we talk more in terms of people than genders”

Benjamin Décosterd is a columnist and writer working mainly in theatre. He is convinced that transparent pay is the key to greater equality, as he explains: “In the theatre world, there’s a collective employment contract that sets the minimum wage for actors.” In La Revue de Lausanne, a show he writes for, pay is based on the number of years of experience: “This year, for example, two actresses will be better paid than some of the men because they have been in more La Revue shows.” In response to a question from the audience about how to decide between a man and woman with the same qualifications, Benjamin said: “That issue has never come up, because we have an equal gender distribution in our team: three actresses, three actors. Ultimately, when deciding between two candidates, a person’s dancing, singing and acting abilities are important, but comedic ability and being a team player are just as important. If we wanted a seventh actor or actress, it would come down to the individual rather than their gender.” He finishes with the hope that “we manage to strike a better balance in future between men and women occupying leading positions in the cultural sector.”

RealTalk by PostFinance, the series of talks on gender equality that calls a spade a spade

On 26 January 2023, PostFinance launched its new series of events in Zurich. These RealTalks, held in both German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland, aim to open a dialogue about money-related issues. “In this day and age, we need to encourage an ongoing discussion on these issues and dare to challenge things that are not acceptable,” explains Beatrice Choisy, Head of Retail Sales for French-speaking Switzerland, who attended the event in Lausanne. This project chimes with the company values and goals embraced by PostFinance, which advocates for diversity in all its forms, with a particular focus on gender equality. “PostFinance guarantees the same conditions and opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender. The company is committed to diversity, because diverse teams are so much better,” Beatrice Choisy continues. During the RealTalk events, which are held three times a year all over the country, enthusiastic speakers discuss how they perceive teamwork in their personal and professional lives. The speakers are also interested in looking at the challenges we face and in the issue of money as a key factor for enabling gender equality.

Filling in the remaining gaps

PostFinance is also committed to equal pay. For this reason, it monitors its salary equality on a regular basis. Even though the most recent analysis, based on salary data from October 2020, shows that unaccountable differences in pay between men and women are fairly small at PostFinance, with women earning just 2.3 percent less, PostFinance wants to continue reducing this disparity through targeted measures. After all, as Head of HR at PostFinance Ron Schneider writes in his assessment of the analysis: “Every salary percentage that cannot be explained is one too many.”

Dates for the next RealTalk events

  • Bern, 26 October 2023, on the subject: “Stay-at-home women and men: retirement planning, benefits and prejudices” (in German)