Associate Professor Dr. med. Natalie Urwyler

Associate Professor Dr. med. Natalie Urwyler: «Moral courage for equal opportunities in the workplace»

Associate Professor Dr. med. Natalie Urwyler is a renowned anaesthesiologist and casualty doctor from the canton of Valais who is a courageous and dauntless advocate for equal opportunities for women in the workplace.

Born in 1973 in the canton of Bern, Natalie Urwyler aspired to an academic career in the field of anaesthesiology from an early age. After passing her State Examination, she initially worked as a junior doctor in surgery and anaesthesiology at Visp Regional Hospital, before transferring to the Clinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy at the University Hospital in Bern. During her employment as a registrar, she performed research in anaesthesiology and emergency medicine, which very soon got her noticed as an up-and-coming young talent. This resulted in a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation for a Postdoc Research Fellowship at Stanford University in California (USA). Due to her successful research activities, she was quickly promoted to the position of tenured professor. Issues such as women’s equality, their participation in leadership positions and the legally mandated protection of pregnant women and nursing mothers, increasingly led to tension with her employer. After becoming a mother herself, she was banned from pursuing further activities in research and teaching. In June 2014, before returning to work as a mother, she was dismissed by the University Hospital of Bern. Taking her employer to court, she ultimately successfully asserted her rights as an employee and mother. She received the Prix Courage in 2018 for her tough, spirited fight on behalf of all women.

As a result of her own experiences, Natalie Urwyler has since become more involved in equal opportunities in the workplace in Switzerland. In 2020, she teamed up with three women to found the organisation StrukturELLE, which promotes equality, good governance and transparent structures in the workplace. StrukturELLE also supports women who are forced to take legal action to have their rights respected.

Associate professor Dr. med. Natalie Urwyler held firm to her commitment and pursued her path for equal opportunities for all women resolutely, courageously and with no end of perseverance.

Associate professor Dr. med. Natalie Urwyler is a strong and tireless advocate for women’s equality in the workplace. By founding the organisation StrukturELLE, which supports projects to bring about equality in the workplace, Natalie Urwyler has made a significant contribution to overcoming structural unequal treatment of women.