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Women's Rights I

BLOG ONE - Part 1: Women's Rights by Sinje H.

I know ExpoTranskultur as a very feminine, committed association. The projects are inspiring and varied, the members linguistically, culturally and professionally diverse, the common denominator for all is Switzerland as home. I’ve lived in Switzerland for the majority of time and am now almost as old as the anniversary that this country is celebrating: 50 years of women's suffrage. Celebrating is difficult at the moment anyway and the 50 years are not really festive either. The Swiss women needed a lot of patience before the Swiss men granted them the human right to vote. In the European context, Switzerland was one of the worst performers; we have been lagging behind the Finns for 65 years.

The Swiss history of women's rights seems like something out of a fairy tale book with patriarchal views of the world, plus legal peculiarities and two women's strikes, which did not attract the most glorious international attention to Switzerland. Since 1848 the constitution has enshrined the general right to vote and suffrage for all Swiss citizens, equality, and political participation. Why has half of the population been excluded from this for 120 years? Women lost their citizenship upon marriage, could not work without the consent of their husbands, and had no political rights. Switzerland has a national heroine with a shield and spear who goes through our hands every day on the hard Swiss franc. “Helvetia calls” is the name of a campaign in which the Swiss legislature and executive want to achieve a more balanced gender distribution. Since 2019, Bundesbern has never been more feminine - but not yet ‘balanced’. Women are also underrepresented in the art world, for example from 2008 to 2018 only 15 percent of all solo exhibitions in the major Swiss museums were dedicated to women artists. (In Spain there is now a law that states that government spending on culture must be divided equally between the sexes.)

Knowing the story, telling stories means having a say, being heard means empowerment and self-determination, the female point of view is still underrepresented in this world today. (e.g. 90% of the texts on Wikipedia are from men).

That is why this blog talks about Helvetic women's rights. A few facts, perspectives, and tips for the anniversary. The women's strike in 2019 showed me that we should never stop talking about it with young and old, with all genders and nationalities, with left and right: talking about our own experiences, about the facts and about a possible fairer future. I will start with that and hope you will soon tell us about your experiences, mention your anecdotes and share your perspective. The first thing I asked a woman I think is smart and I know well:

To be continued. . .

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