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cultural/political Switzerland

New York, NY
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cultural/political Switzerland

I've been very much looking forwad to traveling to Switzerland in the Spring of 2008. Besides its natural beauty, I've always heard about how progressive and forward-looking the Swiss are....but I just found out that Swiss women did not get the vote until 1971!! Is this possible? Do I want to go to a country with such an entrenched patriarchal outlook? I'm so hoping "1971" was a typo in the book I read! Are there any posters out there who have been there and can give me the lowdown? Thanks.

bern
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1. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

Believe me, as a Swiss woman I'm really not proude of that fact. But 1971 is far away now, Switzerland has changed a lot in that time. For people of my generation it's hard to believe that this was ever a subject. Today, like in every other western country, nobody would even think of discussing if women should have the same rights as men. But, there are less women in politics, or technical jobs, and sometimes they even get lower salaries. Probably it's because of similar reason as in other western countries, an issue for endless discussions.

I woudn't worry too much, Switzerland is not that much different to other European countries. Relgion is not very important, Darwin not a subject to discus about. In many ways it's a very progressive place for example when creating somthing like a marriage for homosexuals by peoples vote.

Europe
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2. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

Well this year Switzerland has a woman for president and the president of the Parliament is as well a woman....much better than lots of other countries ;-) , even if there is still a lot to do for women in the country....

I'm sure you will enjoy your trip to Switzerland!

Welcome!

Linnen

Switzerland
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3. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

In 1971, my mother was told by her doctor she shouldn't have anymore children and should get her tubes tied. The local hospital was headed by a Catholic commission. She had to get their permission in order to have the operation. This was in Washington State.

Switzerland has come a long way from 1971 but the US has too.

London
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4. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

There have definitely been big changes in recent decades. When we would go round for dinner at the neighbours', my mother would be offered spirits on a sugar cube, while my father was offered a glass. However, since this generation of neighbours have passed on, dinner round the neighbours' is a more relaxed affair.

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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5. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

Isn't the point of travel to learn about how others believe and live first-hand and not from a book? As a lady traveling alone, I have been treated very poorly many places in the US in the last few years while, during the same time, I have never experienced this sort of discrimination anywhere in Europe and certainly not in Switzerland. There is history for all of this but not traveling to a country because I don't agree with their political or cultural beliefs is way too limiting for me! Then, too, I wonder how I would feel if most Europeans refused to come here because, for example, we have far more severe treatment of criminals than is the case is European countries where they have much more interest in reform and rehabilitation? I hope they will visit and learn about the history behind the attitude in the US and just maybe share why they don't believe the same way. I hope no one on this forum would refuse to visit somewhere because they don't share the political/cultural beliefs of that society! So goes my lecture for the day :-)

Mannheim, Germany
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for Zurich, Mannheim
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6. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

>but I just found out that Swiss women did not get the vote until 1971!! Is this possible?

Mote in your neighbours´ eyes?

Should somebody not visit USA because the "separate but equal" thing was only abolished in the 1960s?

I wouldn´t think so, but it´s your decision...

New York, NY
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7. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

Thanks to everyone who responded to my post. Reading over what I originally wrote, I feel sorta of embarrassed. I really didn't mean to sound so arrogant, because, God knows, the US is way behind so many parts of the world, especially when it comes to civil rights and health care (and on and on!). So I appreciated particularly posts by kileysmom and altamiro and I feel duly chastened.

AND I can't get wait to get to Switzerland! Thanks, all!

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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8. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

Hi, I'm so glad you're off to Switzerland and I know you will have a wonderful time! It's a beautiful country with beautiful people and I'm sure you'll have no sense at all of discrimination against women or anyone. Have a great time and please post your impressions and all about your trip when you get back!

Haverhill, United...
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9. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

If you like to know whats going on in Switzerland click on to www.swissinfo.org

Mannheim, Germany
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for Zurich, Mannheim
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10. Re: cultural/political Switzerland

>God knows, the US is way behind so many parts of the world, especially when it comes to civil rights and health care (and on and on!)

I wouldn't go so far - everybody in this world has something to not be proud of, Switzerland just as USA. In the Swiss political system it can be very easy for a small interest group to block off any change in the system (especially constitutional changes) but I wouldn't say Switzerland differs from the USA in this regard very much.