"Within the first years of her life, Dreifuss' family was forced to flee toward France, to Geneva, from her birthplace in the eastern region of Switzerland, as the Nazi forces approached the eastern border. In Geneva, Dreifuss received her education, eventually obtaining her commercial diploma in 1958. She worked as an assistant in a hotel, and then as a journalist before receiving schooling in Mathematics and Economics from Geneva University in 1970, where she worked on the faculty till 1972. Dreifuss is "competent" in five languages, and consistently has proven her worth as an able leader shaped by the humble travels of a thoughtful person. After her brief stint with the faculty of Geneva University, Dreifuss began her term with the trade union. She became a keen supporter of Switzerland's, and specifically women's, relationship with the International Labor Organization (ILO). At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sitting on various federal committees she capably promoted these areas in her dealings with social insurance and labor laws.
"Dreifuss joined the Social Democrats in 1965, but began her political career in 1972 in the Swiss Development Cooperation Service within the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her first election victory came in 1981, when she was elected to the general secretariat of the Federation of Swiss Trade Unionists."