14 June 2019: Thousands of women walked out at 15:24 (in recognition of the male-female pay equity) all across Switzerland calling for equal pay, gender equality, and more rights. The strike was reminiscent of the Women’s Strike in 1991, when 500,000 women went out on the streets to protest gender inequality. Organizers including BWI’s affiliates in Switzerland---UNIA and SYNA--believe this year’s strike drew more than the 1991 strike.
“Although Switzerland is a rich country and considered a developed country, in terms of gender equality, it is still underdeveloped,” stated Rita Schiavi, Chair of the BWI International Women’s Committee. She continued, “Women make at least 20 percent less than men. This is one of the main reasons why women in Switzerland regardless of their jobs are on strike today calling for equal pay. This is a one-day strike, but we will continue to campaign until women are paid the same as men.”
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson who had earlier spoke at the ILC Plenary announcing his support for the strike participated in the Geneva actions, where more than 25,000 participated in a series of activities throughout the day.
Yuson stated, “This is a day where women in Switzerland are on the streets throughout the country mobilizing to demand gender equality. It is important that we join them and support their demands.”
BWI affiliates globally also supported the strike by taking photos with the sign “I Support the Women’s Strike in Switzerland” and sharing it via social media. In the end 43 unions in 31 countries posted photos and videos.