Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Women's Rights in Switzerland Challenged Once Again

In the spring of 2010, I wrote an article for Swiss News about the Zurich Women’s Guild and how they’ve been fighting for over 20 years for the right to march alongside the men’s guilds in the Sechseläuten parade, which is held every April. Sechseläuten is a public holiday in Zurich, and the parade is partly supported by public funds.

This spring, for the first time ever, the men’s guilds allowed the women to march in the parade, but it was a one-time invitation and it was not guaranteed that it would be an ongoing trend.

Earlier this week, I read that the men’s guilds have decided the women will no longer be welcome in the parade.

Why? Sometimes I don’t understand Switzerland at all…even when I try to by going in-depth and interviewing the people behind these stories.

I respect traditions—even 1000-year old ones—but like everything else, I feel they should evolve with the times. The other Zurich tradition, Knabenschiessen, has allowed girls to participate for over 20 years now.

And to be fair, girls are also allowed to march in the Sechseläuten parade with their fathers. But then, once they get older, they are no longer welcome.

What does this say about Swiss society?

Girls have more rights than women?

I guess the real message is this: if you’re a girl in Switzerland, try not to grow up. There’s a reason Heidi is a Swiss icon and not a grown woman. Because clearly, there are still some areas where equality for women is lacking in Switzerland.

What do you think about the men's decision to exclude the women from the parade?


Tanya D said...

Nice article. The Swiss should be embarrassed.

Hattie said...

Swiss men have inferiority complexes which manifest themselves in trying to exclude women from their activities.

AllAmericanGrl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllAmericanGrl said...

oops sorry for the delete comment haha!

anyways ...

I think this goes beyond just parades, but the society as a whole here in Switzerland. On how they are always challenging the women's rights and roles, especially as moms and business moms etc.

Chantal said...

I agree that the issue goes beyond just a parade to how society views women in general. Huge deals are made out of everything here, like store hours, kids coming home for lunch, etc, which all impact women who also want to work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing this topic to the forefront. I believe it's a major issue here in Switzerland. When you think about it, the country has advanced in so many ways (technology, environmentally, etc. etc.), but when they cannot give women equal rights, they essentially haven't advanced at all! It's time for the barriers of inequality to be broken down once and for all.


Chantal said...

Thanks for reading. I couldn't agree more!

Bill Harby said...

Neanderthal, at best. Maybe Swiss women should stage their own parade and not let us guys in -- or better yet, DO let us guys in, proving your evolutionary superiority.

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