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Hundreds protest vote to raise Swiss women’s retirement age

Two women carry flags calling for justice for women in Switzerland
Women are demanding equal pay and opportunities in Switzerland. Peter Schneider/Keystone

Several hundred people gathered in the Swiss capital, Bern, to protest the verdict of a nationwide vote to raise the age of retirement for women.

A slim majority of voters on Sunday backed a proposal for women to retire at 65 rather than 64. The measure is designed to boost the coffers of Switzerland’s creaking pension system.

But protestors on Monday demanded that inequalities, such as pay and obstacles for working mothers, be addressed by politicians.

+ How Switzerland voted to raise the age of retirement for women

The action should be viewed as “the first declaration of war against rich, old, white men” who had decided that women should work longer, said Tamara Funiciello of the Social Democrat Women group.

“Women carry this society, unpaid,” she said, adding that a women’s strike would be organized for June next year.

More than 10,000 people turned out for a Women’s Strike that was staged across Switzerland in 2019. The day of action called for equal rights between men and women and for action to be taken to stop violence against women.

Speaking on Sunday after the national vote, Interior Minister Alain Berset said the strength of opposition “is a clear signal to parliament to seek solutions to improve the position of women in a reform of the occupational pension system.”

Left-wing opponents of a raised retirement age denounced the result of the vote as an “insult for women”. They said women had to pay a high price and were still the victims of wage discrimination.



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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR