Women’s strike in Switzerland June 14 2019

Flashes on the biggest political demonstration in Switzerland’s recent history! 

It sets a clear signal for rapid progress in gender equality – looking back we from ADF-SVF Suisse fully agree with Union Syndicale Suisse, that 14 June 2019 will be the biggest political demonstration in Switzerland’s recent history. The rallies reached historic dimensions in all major cities. The enormous number of young women was particularly remarkable. All this shows that the equality of women in working life and in society must move forward and will now move forward.

Already in the morning, hundreds of thousands of women took part in strike brunches, coffees and picnics, or took part in company strikes, work stoppages, extended breaks or similar strike actions. The variety of forms of action was overwhelming. It ranged from the Swiss radiofrauenstreik.ch to pram demos and rollator races. This shows the strength of this movement. Through months of preparation, new networks were established. The Women’s* Strike 2019 is thus the beginning of a newly strengthened networking and thus an even stronger movement for equality.

Basel – “If women want, everything stands still!!”

frauenrechte beider basel frbb, the Basel section of ADF-SVF Suisse was actively participating. In fact around 50,000 women attended the largest rally Basel has ever seen, and the city really stood still for hours! So many women took part that not even all frbb members made it to the meeting point by the “clothesline” in front of the huge purple covered Serra sculpture. There were 19 posters with selected resistant women, starting with the disobedient Beguines 1411 until June 14, 1991, the first women’s strike. frbb was involved in creating a special clothesline about the history of Basel women: These resistant women are our role models. Women have been protesting in Basel since the Middle Ages.
Much attention was also paid to the frbb-banner “Recognition in money and word – immediately!” Annemarie Heiniger from frbb explains in an interview with Telebasel that women’s demands for equality are still not implemented in everyday life, and that it is therefore necessary to continue fighting for it.

Neuchâtel – Women will not give up!

ADF section Neuchâtel also presiding ADF-SVF Suisse, was very actively engaged within the Collectif Neuchâtelois for the feminist strike.

Their open letter gives an excellent review about this huge event.

Hundreds of thousands of women – of all generations, origins, status and professions – participated in the feminist strike of 14 June 2019 throughout Switzerland in a creative and determined manner. Purple and our many demands were displayed everywhere, in the street, in neighbourhoods, in schools, in the workplace: equal pay, denunciation of feminicide, sharing of domestic and care work, non-sexist education in schools, fulfilled sexuality, etc. 17 demands recorded in a common appeal read in all cities at the 11 a.m. time. A work stoppage largely followed at 15:24, symbolic time since on average in Switzerland women are no longer paid from that moment on.

The scale of this mobilization, which culminated at the end of the day in gigantic street demonstrations that were cheerful, colourful and noisy, surprised everyone. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, young girls, sometimes even very young, everywhere with their elders, mothers and grandmothers, but also their brothers, fathers and friends. Never seen before. However, in several cities, Neuchâtel is no exception, the press has published approximate downward figures…

But one thing is certain: as the photos and videos taken nationwide show, the streets of the cities have never seen such a social mobilization. From Euronews to the Financial Times (USA), the Guardian (London), newspapers in Zimbabwe, Thailand, Spain, Poland and elsewhere, the press reports, well beyond our borders, on this formidable Swiss feminist tide for equality…

Women, this time, will not give up. This is a historic turning point. 

Statements compiled by Esther Suter and Ursula Nakamura.