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Swiss women across the country rise up for equal pay

Women in Switzerland on average earn 20% less than men.

June 14, 2019 09:45 pm | Updated 09:54 pm IST

Purple to the fore: Women take part in a nation-wide women's strike for wage parity in Bern, on Friday.

Purple to the fore: Women take part in a nation-wide women's strike for wage parity in Bern, on Friday.

Purple-clad protesters blowing whistles, banging pots and pans and brandishing feminist slogans filled the streets of Swiss towns and cities Friday, as women across the country went on strike for equal pay.

“I love badass women” and “Eliminate the patriarchy” figured among the messages on posters and banners, as women poured into the streets to vent their frustration with persistent gender discrimination and wage gaps in the wealthy Alpine nation.

The strike comes nearly three decades after women held the country’s first nationwide strike for equal pay.

“Wage equality has not been achieved. That is a good reason to go on strike,” Ruth Dreyfuss, who in 1998 became Switzerland’s first female president, said.

Women in Switzerland on average still earn 20 percent less than men. And for men and women with equal qualifications, the wage gap remains nearly eight percent, according to the National Statistics Office.

“We are here to make noise, because if we’re not seen, we don’t exist,” said Socialist MP Ada Marra.

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