Monday, 10 August 2015

Women's Suffrage in Switzerland

In 1886, women officially started claiming their right to vote in the Swiss city of Zurich. Decades passed and in 1959, the cantones of Neuenburg and Waadt agreed to introduce women's suffrage by a popular vote. In the 1960s, Geneva, Basel and Tessin followed, in 1970 Wallis and Zurich. In 1971, Switzerland attempted again to introduce women's suffrage on a national level, two thirds of men agreed. But it was only on 27 November 1990 that the last bastion, the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, officially accepted women's suffrage, or rather, was forced to accept (via). Even today, Appenzell Innerrhoden is described as "tradition-conscious", as a canton easily being irritated by changes and new developments. Despite its lowest unemployment rate in Switzerland (i.e. 127 unemployed persons) and although only 1554 "foreigners" are living in the canton with a population of 16.000 inhabitants, populists worrying about "massive immigration" are quite successful (via).

Above: Man in Zurich distributing pamphlets and holding the message "The man = Head of Family. Hence 7 Feb No" on 5 February 1971, two days before women's suffrage was introduced at the federal level in Switzerland

Above: "Men-Brothers-Sons save/protect us from politics. Our world is our home and so it shall remain. Therefore NO to women's suffrage ... Female citizens who trust their husbands." Zurich, 1947

Above: "Not without suffrage", Zurich, 1959

Above: Roof in Zurich, a woman and two children prepare banners for the anniversary of women's suffrage

Above: "Henpecked husbands take revenge at the ballot box", Bern

Above: On 2 February 1966, women protest for the end of "men's dictatorship"

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photographs via and via and via and via and via and via


  1. Indeed, thanks for this!

  2. I knew only a few things about this, thanks!

    1. Most of the information I found was in German which unfortunately automatically limits access to them or makes them less spread. Thanks, Karen!