The long road to women’s suffrage in Switzerland

The march for women’s suffrage in Switzerland

A different kind of whistle blower Keystone

An hour of making noise in front of the Swiss parliament buildings was enough to find its way into the history books.

This content was published on March 1, 2019 minutes and agencies/raf

On March 1, 1969, thousands of women loudly demanded the vote.

On that day exactly 50 years ago, 5,000 women and men stood in the square and at 3pm gave a concert of whistles.

Marching to parliament in the capital, Bern. Keystone

The event was controversial. Although the two main women's associations supported the cause, they did not take part in the rally, fearing riots and revenge by men at the ballot box who might be provoked to reject women's suffrage.

Many women travelled from across the country to take part. Keystone

The protestors read out a resolution in all four Swiss national languages, demanding full voting rights at the federal and cantonal level.

Emilie Lieberherr, the head of the committee behind the "March to Bern", would eventually become a politician, winning a seat in the Senate. Keystone

It would take two years before a bill was finally presented to the (male) electorate and adopted by a two-thirds majority. However, it took another 20 years for women's suffrage to be implemented in all cantons.

Young and old took part. Keystone

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