Women across Switzerland are striking on Friday to denounce slow progress on tackling the gender pay gap and inequalities.
The movement echoes a similar protest held in 1991 in which some 500,000 women took part and which led to the adoption five years later of the Gender Equality Act. The legislation banned workplace discrimination and sexual harassment with the aim of “furthering true equality between women and men”.
But 28 years after their first strike, Swiss women continue to denounce the persistently-high gender pay gap under the slogan “Pay, time, respect!”
According to data from the country’s Federal Statistics Office, Swiss women earn 19.6% less than their male counterpart. While that is down by nearly a third since the first strike, the discrimination gap — the differences that cannot be explained by rank or role — has actually worsened since 2000.
The International Labour Organisation also found last month that the country is near the bottom of the list when it comes to the wage gap between men and women in senior roles. Only Italy, Kazakhstan and Israel were deemed worse across Europe and Central Asia.
The Women’s Strike Zurich Collective, which co-organised Friday’s movement, wrote in a manifesto: “We’re striking because women earn less for the same work, are passed over for promotions, are hardly represented at the executive level and because typically female jobs are poorly paid.”