Thousands Of Women Organised A Mass Scream Yesterday, Here's Why

Katie O'Malley
Photo credit: TommasoTuzj.com - Getty Images

From ELLE

Protesting can take many different forms.

In light of George Floyd’s recent death at the hands of the police in the US, anti-racist protests broke out across the world, with peaceful demonstrations and marches organised in the likes of Amsterdam, London and Washington D.C.

Others chose to manifest their protest against institutional racism and police brutality on social media, raising awareness of Black Lives Matter-focussed organisations to support and donate money to.

On Sunday, a group of around 2,000 women staged a different kind of protest in Switzerland which involved a mass scream to demand an end to domestic violence and demand gender equality. The number of protesters was dramatically lower than last year’s half a million due to coronavirus restrictions.

During the annual Women’s Strike, known nationally as the Frauenstreik, women screamed at the top of their lungs for 60 seconds at 3.24pm.

The time marked a poignant moment in the lives of women as it is the time of day when women work ‘for free’ as a result of the gender wage gap.

The group also staged a flash mob and held a minute’s silence for victims of domestic violence. The slogan ‘If it’s a woman’s will, everything will stand still’ was written on was placards and shouted throughout the demonstration.

According to the latest Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS), published last year, more than a fifth (20.3 per cent) of full-time female employees earn less than 52,000 francs a year, while the number is just 7.5 per cent for men on the same wage.

While the figure is better than 30 years ago in the country, it is worse than in 2000, according to government data. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018, in 2015 Switzerland fell from eighth-best country in terms of gender equality to 20th.

While the country has one of the best economies in the world in terms of GDP per capita, its gender equality record has remained relatively low.

Women finally got the vote in 1971 (this happened in Britain in 1918) and were finally allowed to open a bank account without needing a husband’s permission in 1985.

The first Women's Strike in Switzerland began in 1991 to demand an amendment on gender equality in the workplace and has been held in other Swiss cities including Zurich, Bern and Lausanne for several years.

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