Happy Anniversary, ladies.

7 02 2011

Today is a very, very important 40th anniversary. It is the 40th anniversary of womens’ right to vote in Switzerland. Fortieth, you ask? Only the fortieth? Yes, folks, women in Switzerland have had the right to vote for less time than I have been alive.

Shocking, is it not? I certainly think so.

In the run-up to this anniversary, there have been a number of news reports about the referendum that took place forty short years ago. The vote was, of course, open only to men. Swiss men, not usually known for their progressive, open, liberal nature, had to decide if, in the future, women would be allowed to take part in the political process, or if 50 percent of the population would continue to live in silence. Fortunately, a majority of these men noticed that the times, they were a-changin’ (only seven years after the song was released) and voted “yes”.

In the recent news coverage, the media dug up a few classic referendum campaign posters, which I would not want to withhold from my international readership. They range from the simply unbelievable to the simply unbelievably absurd.

For the English-speakers among you, here just a quick German-English mini-dictionary of words used in the posters:

Frauenstimmrecht = Womens’ voting rights

Nein = No

So ladies – look and weep. This is what we would have had to deal with, had we been born a generation earlier, in Switzerland.

Interesting. No flies on my pacifier.

“Is this the kind of woman you want?"

(And… what kind of woman would that be? Possessed? Terrorized? Frazzled? Shell-shocked? Demented? Witch-like?)

"Leave us out of the game!"

(Somehow I can not believe this young woman actually volunteered to have her photo on this poster. And notice the very subtle claws…)


This last poster I find particularly disturbing, because it seems to me not only to support the “no” vote, but also to be advocating violence against women. Or maybe it just challenges the viewer to find 101 household uses for a carpet beater, at least one of which surely has to do with female suffrage.

I am simply aghast.

Fortunately, on that fateful Sunday in 1971, a majority of Swiss men had the good sense to decide that running the country alone was a miserable task. So they offered women the opportunity to join them in the political trenches. One lonely backwater Kanton in eastern Switzerland needed 20 more years to grant women the right to vote on regional issues. Today there are more women (4) in the federal cabinet than men (3), and so far, they seem to be rather successful at what they do.

In corporate life, however, there is still a veeeerrrrry looooong way to go. Don’t even get me started on that.



6 responses

7 02 2011
Ironic Mom

Unbelievable. 1971? Women weren’t able to vote when the Beatles were topping the charts? Yikes. Beyond corporate, is that disparity still evident?

7 02 2011
Evelynn Starr

Darling, women here weren’t able to vote until after the Beatles broke up!

Other disparity? Like i said, dont get me started. 1) The so-called marriage tax (R and I pay 10,000 USD more in taxes than if we were single and living together). 2) Family-unfriendly day care hours (it is assumed that the mother has time to drop off and pick up children in the middle of the day). 3) Family-unfriendly day care costs (average of 120 USD per day). 4) Family-unfriendly shop opening hours (good luck finding a supermarket that’s open after 7pm).

Shall I go on? And that’s just, you know, the stresses of everyday life. The corporate world, however, is a shark tank.

10 02 2011
Ironic Mom

Wow. Un-freaking-believable.

7 02 2011

Unbelievable….good reminder not to take our rights for granted and to exercise that right!

18 02 2011
Scott Wolfsteller

Yes, really unbelievable how restrictive living in the country with the highest standard of living can be. I would move away as soon as possible. I don’t know how you and many others have endured such injustice for so long.
No, better yet, take it to the streets like in Tunesia, Egypt and Bahrain.

18 02 2011
Evelynn Starr

Thankfully, thousands of women did, 40 years ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: