Last Friday June 14, 2019, thousands of people – mostly women – held demonstrations throughout Switzerland demanding equal pay, equal treatment, and denouncing gender violence.

In Zürich, it was estimated that 100 thousand people took to the streets. About the same number of demonstrators had marched for the first time on June 14, 1991 in Zürich, also demanding equal rights and pay. I marched with Petra, who had also done so 28 years ago.

Enjoy the video of my impressions of the Frauenstreik in Zürich.


  1. I concur Tere’s comments about the passivity and peacefulness of the March which not only in Nicaragua but here too have had much more incivility and at times violence.
    As a feminist, I am struck by the lack of males, visually obviously missing. A march for women’s rights is not by definition a march by women. It is a march for all who wish for equality. It saddens me that my gender is so messed up that it can’t even show up (with some exceptions.) Thanks Ruben for representing the rest of us by your spiritual, moral, and physical presence.

  2. Wow!!!!! Me impresionò grandemente lo civilizada de esa manifestación! Me fascinò!
    No hay humo proveniente de gases lacrimógenos, ni lanzamiento de rocas, ni balazos, ni gente herida, ni muertos. Estoy impactada con la libertad plena de manifestarse y de protestar contra el patriarcado y sus consecuencias funestas. Me sorprende porque soy nicaraguense y en Nicaragua protestar puede costarte la vida, como de hecho le ha costado la vida a tantas personas a raíz de las protesta que comenzaron en abril del 2018 contra la dictadura de Daniel Ortega.
    La escritora nicaraguense, Gioconda Belli lo dice en un poema:
    Dios dijo
    Ama a tu prójimo
    como a tì mismo
    En mi país
    el que ama a su
    se juega la vida.

    Me encantò la toma de los zapatos. Me encantò ver a Petra!

    1. Querida Teresa: gracias por tus comentarios. El poema de Giaconda Belli es escalofriante. En ese punto estamos en muchas partes del mundo… Tu comentario me llevó a reflexionar sobre la marcha y cómo la gente se comportó sin confrontamientos violentos. Y entonces me percaté de que la presencia policiaca fue casi imperceptible. Solo recuerdo tres policias (dos hombres y una mujer) patrullando la marcha sin proyectar agresión, durante las casi dos horas que caminamos. No quiero, sin embargo, ignorar que hubo políticos (de derecha y centro-derecha) que criticaron y se opusieron a la marcha. Por otro lado hay que reconocer que a pesar de lo civilizada que fue la marcha, en veintipico de años desde la marcha anterior (1991) los reclamos son casi los mismos. O sea que las cosas no han cambiado tanto. ¡Pero sí han cambiado para bien, y seguirán cambiando! Besos y abrazos. Rubén, Petra, y Mía (quien no marchó porque se pone nerviosa con las multitudes).

  3. Wow, so this is a global problem, even affecting Switzerland. As the father of a very intelligent and capable daughter, who is a leader in all her school activities, this is an real concern for me and for her. What are the suggested changes that will REALLY affect this situation positively?

    1. Author

      Dear Reid:

      Thanks for your comments.

      Switzerland, a model democracy, is an imperfect country. Women gained the right to vote in national elections in 1971. In canton Appenzell Innerrhoden, it was in 1991 when women were able to vote in national elections. The Swiss political system is federalist, like the USA, where cantons can decide certain issues, independently of national determinations. Another example is child care. Here child care is mostly privatized, and very expensive. There are subsidies for low income families, but if you are in the middle class, like most people, you don’t qualify for it. There is a tipping point where many families decide that the woman should stay at home caring for the children, because the amount of money gained with a job will not offset the costs of child care. The consequence is that the woman-at-home and man-at-work equation remains in place. This perpetuates the inequality between men and women. Some parties, especially on the right and center right at the national and cantonal levels oppose legislation for making child care affordable to all.

      Sometimes change is so slow that we do not notice it. Our perception of change has evolved, I think mostly due to the nature of our hyper connected, quasi-instant feedback on anything we share on social media. So, in a way, we expect that social mores and customs should change equally fast. It’s hard to get away from that perspective. Nature, in its slow but continuous process of transformation is a good antidote to that. I think that change regarding equal treatment of women is taking place albeit slowly. But it is happening. I think a good way to effect change in this direction is, as you do with your daughter Gigi, to nurture, respect, and promote the freedom of action and expression among the girls and women that are in your life (work, family, clubs, groups, church…). When one projects this attitude, other people take notice, and that can be a seed of change in a broader context. Of course, marches like the ones that took place here last week are also important actions toward achieving equality.

      1. Thoughtful perspectives. Thanks.

  4. Good memories, I especially like the scene with the slowly moving shoes … Regina attended as well :-)

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