Why are women in Switzerland on strike on Wednesday?

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Why are women in Switzerland on strike on Wednesday?
Why are women striking in Switzerland? Photo by Josh Sorenson:

The third national 'feminist' strike takes place in Switzerland on Wednesday June 14th, but what's it all about?


Four years ago, a large scale women’s strike took place for a second time – after 1991 - in Switzerland with around half a million people turning up to support the initiative.

Despite this, three years and a pandemic later the situation of women in Switzerland on the labour market has not significantly improved. If anything, it has deteriorated: women now have to work a year longer.

Following many smaller strikes to address issues surrounding lower wages, discrimination, and lower pensions, the Swiss Trade Union Federation has now announced the third major ‘feminist’ strike set to take place on June 14th.

But why is the former women’s strike now called a feminist strike?

The organisation changed the movement’s name to feminist strike in order to address not only women, but also men - a feminist is after all anyone who advocates gender equality.

Incidentally, men who wish to show solidarity on the day are asked to help in a variety of ways, including offering childcare or catering, or even better, coming along for the strike.

What is the focus of the strike?

The movement has listed several demands that it wants considered, among them equal pay – specifically in sectors with low and medium wages and a high proportion of women – as well as a minimum wage of 4,500 francs (or 5,000 francs for a successfully completed apprenticeship).


While fair wages are certainly at the forefront of demands, the feminists are also demanding living pensions without a further increase in the retirement age and more family-friendly working hours.

Childcare should also be financed by the public sector and there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexism in the professional environment.

Further to this, they are asking for shorter working hours: full-time employment from 30 to a maximum of 35 hours per week instead of part-time traps and underemployment.

Who is organising the strike?

Several local strike collectives, which were formed as part of the women's strike in 2019, are now organising the strike programme in the respective regions for this year.

The collectives are supported by trade unions from a wide range of sectors and more details on your local collective can be found here.


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