March 8, 2021

Stories of struggle for women’s rights


In this month of Rosa Luxemburg’s birthday and the celebration of International Women’s Day, we have proposed to ten women to each choose a woman who, here in Switzerland, fought for women’s rights and/or for political and social rights. Each of them then wrote a portrait, her portrait, the portrait of a person particularly close to her heart. We will publish these articles one by one during the month of March.

Rosa Luxemburg spent about ten years of her life in Switzerland, and the animated short film we made looks back at this little-known period of her life. But we also wanted to show other, less well-known life stories that together tell us a collective story: the story of the struggle for rights, which we should always remember, also to keep it alive.

A portrait of Christiane Brunner by Romaine Jean

Photo black and white of Christiane Brunner, in front of a microphone, facing a huge crowd
On March 6, 1993, around 8,000 people supported Christiane Brunner, Geneva SP National Councilor and Federal Council candidate who failed on March 3, in her appearance at the rally at the Muensterhof in Zuerich. Photo: KEYSTONE / Str

A portrait of Margrith Bigler-Eggenberger by Elisabeth Joris

Portrait of Margrith Bigler-Eggenberger sitting at her office desk
Margrith Bigler-Eggenberger poses for a portrait photogpraph in her apartment in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on September 10, 2019. Margrith Bigler-Eggenberger was elected the first female full federal judge of Switzerland in 1974. Photo: KEYSTONE/Christian Beutler

A portrait of a generation of immigrant women in Switzerland by Jacqueline Ricciardi Werlen

Italian migrant workers sort chocolates according to size at the chocolate factory Lindt und Spruengli, pictured in Zurich, Switzerland, on in April of 1970. Photo: KEYSTONE/Photopress-Archiv/Dejaco

A portrait of Theresia Rohner by Isabel Rohner

Portrait in black and white of Teresia Rohner
Theresa Rohner from the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden takes a position on November 27, 1990 in Lausanne before the Federal Court on the judgment of the court on the complaint on the right to vote for women in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. The federal court approved the complaint that she had filed with like-minded people from the canton and decided that Appenzell Innerrhoden must grant women the right to vote and vote with immediate effect due to the equality article of the federal constitution. Photo: KEYSTONE/Jean Guy Python

A portrait of Margarethe Faas-Hardegger by Fanny Vaucher

Portrait of Margarethe Faas-Hardegger
Photo: Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv

A portrait of Rosa Bloch-Bollag by Kaya Pawlowska

Portrait of Rosa-Bloch-Bollag
Photo: Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv

A portrait of Carole Clair and Joëlle Schwarz by Marie Fourquet

Lausanne, 19 January 2021. UNISANTE, Carole CLair and Joëlle Schwartz, Heads of the Medicine and Gender Unit. Photo: Odile Meylan/24heures

A portrait of Rosa Grimm by Brigitte Studer

Rosa Grimm-Schlain, between 1908 and 1916, when she was married to Robert Grimm. Brigitte Studer, Rosa Grimm. A life in the Swiss labor movement, unpublished licentiate thesis, University of Freiburg 1982
Rosa Grimm-Schlain, between 1908 and 1916, when she was married to Robert Grimm. Brigitte Studer, Rosa Grimm. A life in the Swiss labor movement, unpublished licentiate thesis, University of Freiburg 1982

A portrait of Jovita Dos Santos Pinto by Noemi Michel

Photo: Urs Jaudas/Tages-Anzeiger

A portrait of Ruth Dreifuss by Isabelle Gattiker

The newly elected Federal Councillor Ruth Dreifuss on 10 March 1993 is welcomed by a cheering crowd in front of the Federal Palace together with the defeated first-time candidate Christiane Brunner. Photo: KEYSTONE/Lukas Lehmann

A portrait of Annemarie Schwarzenbach by Caroline Dayer

Marianne Breslauer – Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Zürich, 1934. Photo: KEYSTONE/Fotostiftung Schweiz/Marianne Breslauer

A portrait of Élisabeth Dmitrieff by Natacha Rault

Yelisaveta Lukinichna Dmitrieva, née Kusheleva (1850-1918), 1871. Found in the collection of Russian State Library, Moscow. (KEYSTONE/HERITAGE IMAGES/Fine Art Images)

More portraits can be discovered here during the month of March as well as on the website Hommage 2021, which pays tribute to the Swiss women who fought for women’s voting and suffrage rights for more than 100 years.