Swiss Women Stage A Mass Scream Over Domestic Violence, Pay Gap

By Cecile Mantovani

Women across Switzerland let loose with screams during a national protest on Sunday, demanding equal treatment and an end to violence at the hands of men.

Last year half a million people marched to highlight the nation’s poor record on women’s rights. This year’s version of what organisers call the Women’s Strike was more subdued given coronavirus restrictions.

Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo June 14, 2014, after a woman was sexually assaulted by a mob during the June 8 celebrations marking the new president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's inauguration in Tahrir square. Egypt has asked YouTube to remove a video showing the naked woman with injuries being dragged through the square after being sexually assaulted during the celebrations. Authorities have arrested seven men aged between 15 and 49 for sexually harassing women on the square after the posting of the video, which caused an uproar in local and international media. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) - RTR3TS3T
 REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih (EGYPT – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) – RTR3TS3T

“For me it is emotional. Because I scream for me, but I also scream for my sisters and brothers, I scream for all the other children who lost a mother or a father, and I also scream for my mother, who would have screamed if she was still here,” said Roxanne Errico, a 19-year-old student who said her mother was killed by her violent boyfriend.

Another Geneva resident, Rose-Angela Gramoni, said she had joined all the women’s strikes since 1991.

“Now I can die in peace, the next generation is here to take over. But for a while, I was very sad. I thought we fought for many things, but we did not finish the job and nobody was here to finish it,” said Gramoni, who is in her 70s.

Switzerland has a high quality of life but lags other developed economies in women’s pay and workplace equality. Women earn roughly a fifth less than men, better than 30 years ago when it was about a third less, but worse than in 2000, according to government data.

Thousands of marchers in Geneva and other Swiss cities screamed for a minute at 3:24 p.m. — the time of day when women technically start working for free given the wage gap.

They also staged a flash mob and held a minute’s silence for women killed by husbands or boyfriends.

Demonstrators decried violence against women and the LGBT community and called for recognition of often unpaid work caring for family and relatives.

“I would love to walk at night wearing a skirt, shorts or leggings without being insulted, without being scared to be raped,” said Geneva resident Vani Niuti, 20.

Source: news.trust.org

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