Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Swiss women celebrate 40 years of suffrage

Swiss women have come a long way since 1971, the year they were granted the right to vote at the federal level.

Exactly 40 years after their first chance to do so, around 125 representatives of the Swiss political, social and economic scenes celebrated the milestone in Bern on Monday.

On February 7, 1971, 66 per cent of Swiss men voted in favour of allowing women to vote as well. The first opportunity came on June 6 of that year – when nationwide issues included environmental protection and financial regulations.

Many women who remember that momentous year were at the Bernerhof on Monday to reminisce and discuss what still needs to be done.

“This is a very important event because we still have a number of problems and challenges in terms of equality. Some examples include equal pay for equal work and the glass ceiling,” said former parliamentarian Rosmarie Zapfl-Helbling, president of alliance F, an umbrella organisation for 140 women’s groups in Switzerland.

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