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Inequality The march for women’s suffrage in Switzerland

Frau mit Trillerpfeife und Schlapphut an einer Demonstration, Schwarzweiss

A different kind of whistle blower


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

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.

Demonstration mit Fahnen vor dem Bundeshaus, Schwarzweiss

Marching to parliament in the capital, Bern.


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.

Frauen schauen aus Zugfenstern, Schwarzweiss

Many women travelled from across the country to take part. 


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

Rednerin und Transparente an einer Demonstration, Schwarzweiss

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


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.

Frauen an einer Demonstration, Schwarzweiss

Young and old took part.

(Keystone) and agencies/raf

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