Do We still Need a Women's Strike in 2023?

On 14 June, thousands of women will once again walk off the job and strike for equal pay and opportunities. Unfortunately, it is still bitterly necessary.

In 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the women's strike, over half a million participants took part in rallies and events throughout Switzerland. At that time, many cities were immersed in a sea of purple flags and banners.

Little Change Despite Women's Strike

But as current figures show, not much has happened in terms of equal pay and opportunities for women in the last four years.

1) There is still no wage equality. In 2020, women earned an average of 18 percent less than men, according to the Federal Office for Gender Equality.

2) The gender pay gap persists. In occupations with a high proportion of women, pay levels are lower than in occupations with a high proportion of men. With comparable training, women earn around 1000 francs less per month than men. Due to the low wage level in so-called "women's occupations," women also earn significantly less than men when they take on management positions.

3) Women are more likely to fall into the "part-time trap": if they work a reduced workload because they are caring for their children, they risk not only financial losses and pension gaps, but also missing out on career opportunities.

4) Care work weighs heavily on women's shoulders: According to the Federal Statistical Office's 2020 Wage Structure Survey, women perform twice as many unpaid hours of work per week as men. This is also because supplementary childcare in Switzerland is expensive and poorly organized. According to a Unicef study, Switzerland ranks 38th out of 41 in terms of childcare, and it lags far behind other European countries.

5) Wage inequality, gender pay gap and part-time work have far-reaching consequences: Women risk pension gaps and pensions that do not provide a living wage.  Nearly 11 percent of all women must apply for supplemental benefits to make ends meet.

A women's strike is still needed in 2023. There is no other way to interpret these figures.


Manuela Donati

Manuela Donati