#Enough is Enough — Switzerland

Women’s March Geneva and Women’s March Zurich co-hosted the latest national wide march on Saturday, 22 September in the Swiss capital, Bern, for equal pay and anti-discrimination of women. This event was coordinated by over 40 organisations/associations with the unified message: Enough Is Enough.

Over 20,000 women, allies, men and young people took the streets in Bern to express their disagreement with the current pay gap of 18–20%, which results in a pay loss of 8 to 10 billion Swiss francs each year for women. Further the unpaid family care and household work, mostly done by women, add a further layer of discrimination to women in the job market and to their financial situation at the age of retirement.

Equality laws have been in place for the last 37 years, but not respected. As a result Switzerland needs a strong wake-up call from its population to say enough is enough before last week’s parliamentary vote on the implementation of controls for equal pay in companies with more than 100 employees. The parliament voted in favour of these controls, which will help to reduce further the pay gap between women and men. This new motion affects 45% of the Swiss workforce.

Studies show that pay inequalities exist in most of the firms for mainly unconscious reasons. This is why it is vital to implement regular internal analysis or external controls for adjustments to further reduce and avoid salary discriminations.

However, the pay gap doesn’t affect only women, but also other groups like foreigners, people of colour or people simply coming from another language region (Switzerland has four : German, French, Italian and Romansh).

The concept of the Equal Pay Day was created in 1966 in the United States, however this concept has picked up globally as 23 European countries have implemented the Equal Pay Day. For Switzerland this day will be 22 February 2019, which means that women have to work until February 2019 to receive the same salary as men in 2018. Currently, Italy and Luxembourg are countries with the lowest pay gap in Europe.

Equal Pay and anti-discrimination of all women has to become the norm globally. This is why we stand as a community in solidarity with Women’s March Global to defend our rights in a peaceful manner, but with a loud voice.