Policy Session "The Economic Costs of Discrimination in the Labor Market"

The Bern University of Applied Sciences is organizing a conference which brings together high level academic research and influential policy makers to address the challenges posed by labor market discrimination. In this context, we invite you to participate in our Policy Session, in which the challenges of labor market discrimination are addressed. The purpose of the session is to find concrete solutions to eradicate discrimination.

Specific topics to be discussed:

  1. How to better integrate second generation individuals in the labor market
  2. How to mitigate the prevalence of gender differentiated careers

Policy Session Participants

Dr. phil. Sylvie Durrer

Director of the Federal Office for Gender Equality FOGE

Short bio:

Sylvie Durrer, holds a Phd in linguistics. In 2011, the Swiss Federal Council designated her as the director of the Federal Office for Gender Equality, FOGE. Previously, Durrer had led the equality office of the canton of Vaud for five years. She has extended knowledge in gender-specific and equal opportunities policy issues, especially in the fields of employment, education and family. Sylvie Durrer led various commissions on domestic violence at cantonal and intercantonal levels. Between 1996 and 2005 she worked as assistant professor for linguistics at the University of Zurich and Lausanne. From 2001 to 2004, she was also co-director of the research training group Geneva/Lausanne for gender studies.

Media reports:

«Femmes, ne soyez pas toujours sages!» in L'illustré (2015); «Der kleine Unterschied auf dem Lohnzettel» in NZZ (2014); «Mütter, die 100 Prozent arbeiten, sind sozial nicht toleriert» in BaZ (2014); «Es braucht die ausdrückliche Solidarität der Männer» in TA (2014); «Gleichstellungsbüro soll ausgebaut werden» in NZZ (2012); «Freie Wahl statt fester Rollen» in NZZ (2011)


Christa Markwalder

First Vice-President, Swiss National Council

Short bio:

Christa Markwalder graduated with a Licentiate in Jurisprudence and Certificate in Ecology at the Universities of Berne and Nijmegen (The Netherlands) in 2001. Subsequently she worked as a scientific assistant in the Department of Business Law at the University of Berne. Her main focus was European Constitutional Law. Christa Markwalder has been employed by Zürich Financial Services as a lawyer since 2008. From 1999 to her election in 2002 to the Grand Council of Bern, she was active as a young liberal in the City Council of Burgdorf. She has a seat in the National Council, of which she has been First Vice President since 2013. She has been a member of various Committees, including Foreign and Legal Affairs, and belongs to the Delegation of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU). Beside her FDP functions, Christa Markwalder presides over the New European Movement in Switzerland, the Parliamentary Group for Renewable Energy and The Parliamentary Group for Ecologically Conscious Business Conduct.


David Neumark

Professor of Economics at University of California, Irvine, Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California

Short bio:

Prof. Neumark is a labor economist whose research interests include minimum wages and living wages, affirmative action, sex differences in labor markets, the economics of aging, the employment relationship, and school-to-work programs, among other topics. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Labor Economics, the Journal of Human Resources, and many other outlets.

Recent work:

He recently published Sex Differences in Labor Markets, and an edited volume titled The Economics of Affirmative Action.


Olga Rosa

Strategic HR Business Partner EMEA, Bio-Rad Laboratories

Short bio:

Olga Rosa graduated with a Licentiate in Juriprudence at the University of Fribourg in 2001 and obtained an EMBA in General Management at the University of St. Gallen in 2008. She has been employed as an Attorney-at-law at the Headquaters of SBB (Swiss Railaways) in the Human Resources Department form 2001-2008. Her main focus was Labor Law, Social Security and Diversity Management. From 2008 to 2014 she was Head HR of the Division Immunohematology of Bio-Rad Laboratories (US multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research and clinical diagnostics products), with its Headquaters based in Cressier sur Morat (Switzerland) and its facilities in Germany and Brasil. She recently moved to the strategic position of Senior Human Resources Business Partner for all organizations in EMEA of the Clinical Diagnostic, Life Science and Regulatory Affairs and Quality Group.