Banner displaying the slogan If women want, everything comes to a standstill, women's strike 14 June 2019, Zurich, Switzerland.
Gunter Fischer—Getty
June 15, 2020 11:00 AM EDT

Women across Switzerland screamed in protest of unequal treatment and gender-based violence, during a national protest on Sunday.

At the Women’s Strike, known nationally as the Frauenstreik, thousands of protesters screamed at 3:24pm, the time of day that strike organizers calculated that women start working for free as a result of the wage gap. Demonstrators also carried out a flash mob and stood in silence for a minute to remember the women who have been killed at the hands of their male partners. Women held signs with the protest’s slogan, ‘if it’s a woman’s will, everything will stand still.’

The Women’s Strike has taken place since 1991 in cities across the country. The crowd size was significantly smaller than last year where half a million protestors marched. Due to coronavirus restrictions, only 2000 people attended the protest.

While Switzerland has one of the strongest economies in the world with one of the highest life expectancies, the country falls behind on metrics related to gender equality. In Switzerland, women only were allowed to vote in 1971 and could only open their own bank accounts in 1985 (in the U.S., women were given the right to vote in 1919). Today, women in Switzerland earn approximately 1/5 less than men. Switzerland went from being the eight best country in the world for gender equality in 2015 to the 20th by 2018, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018.

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