Women's Day, 8 March



On Sunday, March 8, the Women's Day will take place.
Find out how this day came about, what great things women have done and are doing and what has already been done in terms of gender mainstreaming.
Have fun reading.

Women's Day: born in the USA, launched in Europe


The introduction of an International Women's Day was proposed by the German Clara Zetkin at the 2nd International Women's Conference in Copenhagen in 1910.
This in order to give more emphasis to the demands of women in public.
It was first celebrated in 1911 in Denmark, Germany, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in Switzerland.


But it was not the first day of commemoration of this kind. For since 1909 there had been a «National Woman's Day» in the USA as a result of numerous strikes by women textile workers who had protested against poor living and unfair working conditions. This took place on the last Sunday in February and also dealt with the right of women to vote.

But back to the International Women's Day initiated by Clara Zetkin. In Denmark, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, it initially took place on March 19, while the USA stuck to its February date. In 1921, it was decided to hold it uniformly on March 8th.


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Hooray for multi-faceted women ...


One thing is certain: women have long since achieved outstanding results.

That's why there are now so many world-famous women. Some of them, however, are unknown even though they have made important inventions. This has to do with the fact that they could not patent them under their own name. Because until the 19th century, everything a woman owned was the property of the man.
Therefore, women often sold their inventions or had them patented under their husband's name. But female inventors among women are more common than one might think.


Because for example the forerunner of our pressure cooker, the production of camembert, the champagne storage, the coffee filter, the disposable diaper, the dishwasher, the correction fluid TippEx, the Paulus parachute, the windshield wiper system of cars as well as a frequency-hopping signal for radio-controlled torpedoes that could not be tracked or jammed can be traced back to the inventive spirit of women.

There are also women among the Nobel Prize winners. For after Marie Curie, who in 1903 became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in physics, there were 53 other female prizewinners in the category chemistry, peace, literature, medicine and physiology, physics and economics.


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Gender mainstreaming: gradually going beyond a declaration of intent


Anyone who doubts the meaning of International Women's Day has obviously not experienced how difficult the lives of women in Switzerland have sometimes been.

For a long time, girls had to be happy if they were allowed to attend a secondary school. And the choice of career was another matter. Or did you know that women in Switzerland were still unable to complete a postal apprenticeship in the early 1960s? Or that female teachers in the canton of Zurich were not allowed to marry until 1962? Moreover, until 1988, according to Swiss marriage law, the husband was the head of the family, which gave him the right to manage the assets alone and prohibited his wife from working outside the home.
Last but not least, women in Switzerland were not allowed to vote for a long time. In 1990, there was still one canton that only granted women the right to vote at cantonal level at the behest of the Federal Supreme Court.


Fortunately, things are different today. Because women can be found practically everywhere. In Switzerland, even the proportion of women in company management is now astonishingly high. And women also take part in voting as a matter of course.

This is a reason to rejoice with women about what has been achieved and to surprise friends, wives and colleagues with flowers as a sign of appreciation and solidarity.


Men and women: living together at eye level


Voting and election rights for women, women-friendly marriage law, gender-equity law and maternity compensation:

A lot has happened in Switzerland since the 1970s. Of course, rosy times have not yet dawned for women in Switzerland. According to the Federal Statistical Office, they still earn considerably less than men. That is why it is now a matter of continuing to fight for equality. Not in isolation as women, however, but together with our men.


Even today, men and women are still restricted by the role models ascribed to them, which is detrimental to our community from an economic, social and political point of view. We must therefore reflect. Not only about equality between men and women, but also about role play.

For example, about the role of men, who over time have outgrown themselves and are increasingly becoming as sensitive and responsible as women in the home and in childcare. Or about the role of women who, in their attempt to reconcile work and family life, often end up in less well-paid or part-time jobs.
Here we are all called upon to find solutions. And suddenly Women's Day may take on a different meaning. After all, it's not just about women, but about living together at eye level and people who constantly redefine life as team players.


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