In case you didn’t know already Friday 8th of March is International Women’s Day. To celebrate the day many clubs and bars will be fielding all female lineups and many of the events in the city will be reflective of the IWD. In addition to special events women from all over Switzerland will be meeting in the city to protest and raise awareness of women’s issues both nationally and globally.
In a country that is as liberal and progressive as Switzerland the record on Women’s rights and equality has been pretty poor and this is, perhaps, why the IWD resonates here a bit more than in other European cities. I have listed a few dates (some of which blew my mind) that are relevant to Switzerland and some links if you want to do some more reading.
1919 - 1959 Swiss cantons rejected voting rights for women more than twenty times between 1919 and 1959.
1959 Vaud was the first Canton to grant women the right to vote on cantonal level. This was on the same day as male voters rejected the equality bill at national level. Neuchatel and Geneva followed suit soon after.
1971 Voting rights for women were finally approved and entered the Swiss federal constitution.
1984 Elizabeth Kopp became the first female representative in the Swiss Federal Council in 1984.
1990 Appenzell Innerrhoden was the final canton to grant women the vote. This was forced upon them by the Swiss Federal Council, overturning a centuries old law denying women the right to vote.
2004 Acts of violence in marriage are prosecuted and sanctioned as criminal offences under Swiss Federal law.
2010 First female majority in the Swiss Federal Council.
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