The first female president of the Swiss Red Cross
In the summer of 2019 the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement suffered a great loss. The first female president of the Swiss Red Cross and one of the first GLOW Red members, Annemarie Huber-Hotz, died after suffering a heart attack.
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Mrs Huber-Hotz was the first female president of the Swiss Red Cross and served as Vice President of the IFRC between 2011 and 2019. She was a passionate humanitarian and an inspiring leader whose commitment and vision helped strengthen the IFRC. “She embodied our principles and working with her on our Governing Board was an honour and a privilege. She will be hugely missed”, said IFRC President, Francesco Rocca.

Mrs Huber-Hotz worked tirelessly to support vulnerable people, with the welfare of older people and those fleeing violence and persecution particularly close to her heart. She represented the IFRC at the highest level of governance with professionalism and conviction.

“To have the same motivation and mission is very exciting”

– Annemarie Huber-Hotz, Switzerland

In an interview that GLOW Red held with her in 2018 in Vancouver she explained what she liked about working in the Movement: “It is really exciting that everybody is working for the same principles. So everywhere in the world, the volunteers, employees but also members of the board know the seven principles. They all work for humanity and the most vulnerable people. To have the same motivation and mission is very exciting.”

But she wasn’t only active in the Red Cross. Between 1999 and 2007 she was a federal Chancellor in the Swiss parliament, being the first female to be elected into this position in modern Swiss history. After her retirement she was president of several non-governmental organisations and charities, including the Swiss Red Cross and the Swiss Benevolent Society.

Being the first woman in several positions, Mrs. Huber-Hotz was an advocate for gender equality. She was one of the first members of GLOW Red and said during the same GLOW Red interview: “It is important that more women get involved in governing positions in the federation and all societies, because women have the majority in the world. A big majority of the vulnerable people in the world are women. So it is important that they are not only the beneficiaries and volunteers of the Red Cross Movement, but also get involved in the decision making process.”

She is greatly missed by GLOW Red and her colleagues from the Swiss Red Cross. “Whoever had the chance to know Annemarie was impressed by her modesty, her kindness but also her intelligence and her firm but fair diplomacy. There was her great energy, her enormous commitment and her tirelessness. Annemarie always had an open ear for everyone and took the time to listen. As President of the Swiss RC she advocated for the needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized and the lonely but also for the role of women, youth and volunteers in our movement and society at large”, says Daniela Seuret from the Swiss Red Cross Society.

Mrs Huber-Hotz stepped down as Swiss Red Cross President and IFRC Vice President in June, 2019. She died on 1 August the same year, surrounded by her family.

Annemarie Huber-Hotz

Switzerland, 2007

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Companies where 8 out of every 20 managers are female, generate about 34% of their revenues from innovative products and services. In companies where only 1 out of every 20 managers is female, this is only 25%.

– Humanitarian Advisory Group – Drawing on our Diversity: Humanitarian Leadership Lorenzo, R. et al. (2017)

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