Women join together for ‘national scream’ in outrage at gender pay gap

Government data shows wage gap has increased since 2000

Rory Sullivan
Monday 15 June 2020 13:07 BST
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Women in Switzerland stage mass scream in protest against domestic violence and unequal pay

Women across Switzerland joined together on Sunday to protest against gender inequality, expressing their outrage by screaming for a minute.

Half a million people turned out for a protest last year against the country’s women’s rights record, but this year’s Women's Strike was more subdued due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Nevertheless, thousands of people in Swiss cities including Geneva screamed for a minute at 3.24pm, the time after which women technically work for free because of Switzerland’s gender pay gap.

Women typically earn a fifth less than their male colleagues, a disparity that is now larger than it was in 2000, according to government data. Thirty years ago, women’s pay was around a third lower than men’s.

Although Switzerland has a high quality of life, it falls behind other economically-developed countries in terms of workplace equality and pay.

As well as screaming, demonstrators staged a flash mob and kept a minute’s silence in memory of women who have been killed by their partners.

Roxanne Errico, a 19-year-old student who was among the protesters in Geneva, said her mother had been killed by her violent boyfriend.

"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," she said.

Speaking out about violence against women, another Geneva resident, Vani Niuti, 20, said: "I would love to walk at night wearing a skirt, shorts or leggings without being insulted, without being scared to be raped.”

One protester, who is in her 70s and has attended women’s strikes since 1991, expressed her optimism for the future of the protests.

Rose-Angela Gramoni said: "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.”

Additional reporting from Reuters

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