In 2005,  a group of women involved in development politics formed and started to meet regularly in order to exchange thoughts on „gender in development cooperation and foreign affairs in Switzerland“ and to pool the resources working on this subject on different levels. The „Working Group on Gender and Development“ grew steadily, and in December 2008, „WIDE Switzerland“ was officially constituted as a national platform of the Women in Development Europe network (WIDE Europe) ).

WIDE Europe, founded in 1985, was a network of women’s organizations, development organizations, gender experts, and  women’s rights activists from south, east, and north. WIDE Europe engaged in a process of renewal and reconfguration in 2011. At the last General Assembly in December 2011 the members decided to dissolve the formal structure. At the same time a new WIDE came to life: WIDE+.

The founding members of WIDE Switzerland are: Lilian Fankhauser (ICFG), Tina Goethe (Swissaid), Marianne Hochuli, Hella Hoppe (SEK), Ulrike Knobloch (University of St. Gallen), Mascha Madörin, Franziska Müller (cdf), Tania Rohrer (Helvetas) Sarah Schilliger (University of Basel), Kathrin Spichiger (Alliance Süd), Lilian Studer (HEKS), Heike Wach (ProGender).