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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Swiss protest. “Nothing is actually being done to improve the situation of women”

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Swiss citizens organize protests demanding full equality. This year, their demonstrations also had an additional aspect – solidarity with Polish women.

Switzerland is known for its banks and geopolitical neutrality. From exclusive watches and chocolate. However, she is not known for treating women equally. It is one of the safest and richest countries in the world. In terms of the amount of GDP per capita, it currently ranks fourth. And yet, right there, women are screaming loudly that the time of inequality is over. We screamed with all our might, from the depths of our belly. We screamed so loud we started shaking. Our screams merged into one voice. It was an amazing feeling of unity and community – says Morgan Aeschlimann from Geneva.

Protests against discrimination against women took place in dozens of cities – as usual on June 14, the anniversary of the entry of gender equality into the Swiss constitution. This is not a cry of despair, but rather of anger and rebellion. As hard as it is to believe, Swiss women earn about one-fifth less than Swiss men. In the European Union, this average difference in pay between men and women is less than 13 percent, and in Poland it is only 4.5 percent. Therefore, symbolically, the participants of the protests recognize that women in Switzerland work for free from 15:24. Moreover, the vast majority of women work there only part-time, although they declare that they would prefer a full-time job. No wonder then that in 2023 the demonstrations were held under the slogan “pay, time, respect”. – Equal rights were passed a few decades ago, but still not implemented. They tell us that we have nothing to complain about because we got what we wanted, but in reality nothing is being done to improve the situation of women – says Francoise Nyffeler, co-organizer of the protest.

“Women suffer the most, for several years”TVN24

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The fight for equality

Switzerland was one of the last developed countries to grant women the right to vote – partially in 1971 and full after the Supreme Court judgment only in 1990. Let us recall that the right to vote was granted to Poles by Józef Piłsudski just after World War I. – It is a scandal that we are still victims of discrimination and harassment at work and in public places. Nobody protects us. No one listens to us, Karine warns. The protests are not just about money. Swiss women remind about the victims of domestic violence, shout loudly about discrimination against sexual minorities. In 2023, the Swiss also remembered the drama of Polish women. – We stand in solidarity with women in Poland, who have been deprived of the right to decide about their subjectivity, about their bodily integrity, about their bodies. So we are trying to combine these two events – explains Agnieszka Kamińska, journalist, author of the blog “I’m not Swiss”.

The Swiss explain that they have to go out on the streets because the rights granted to them are not enforced and in an instant, with one act, they can be taken away from them.

Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI



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