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  #81  
Old 01.07.2011, 00:43
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

So much amazing discussion here!!!!

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It's a slow change - but change is on
Ok, so how do we keep it moving forward? Is there any progress being made? Let's organize protests - make a big deal out of this, because it IS a big deal. Let's march in the streets!! Are there any Swiss feminists out there? Where are they?

I'm completely serious about this. For change to happen, we need to fight for it, not wait for it to happen.

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we are nearly as bad as Saudi Arabia. Until 1989 a women needed the permission of her husband to work outside the house. You see - we women are catching up. When I went to school, there was a poster in the tram, sporting "imagine, in the Council Federal is also a male member" - to change the perspective, as at that point Ms Dreyfuss was the only woman in the council.
That's awful... I almost wish I didn't know that. And I'm supposed to become settle down in a country where that is possible?
I'm very passionate about women's rights - Canada has a lot of progress to make too. But living in Switzerland where equality is lagging behind and where being a working mom is next to impossible... I don't even know if I can survive that. My soul would be burning up constantly.
How do I reconcile being a feminist and becoming Swiss? Is it possible?

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I believe she said previously that she can be feminine, so I am assuming she would act lady like in a nice restaurant or another quality situation. I believe she knows the difference. Right julsiebear? Please don't embarrass me and say no!
Absolutely. I think if you met me you all would find me perfectly dainty and charming.
Now, after I got to know you well, if we were to hang out some night with a beer or two... I may or may not do something like attempt to convince you to go streaking with me down Bahnhofstrasse.

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Gender roles in Switzerland - try telling that to the wife of my husband's friend. She's a qualified mechanic for BMW.
Cool!!
(But is she also a mother??? It would be awesome if she is.....)

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In Switzerland, it's just the other way around, that minority in Canada, is the majority here. That being said, there still are some girls here who will chug a beer with you. You just have to look a little harder.
True, and that is a comfort to know. I guess no matter where you are, you have to adjust your personality to fit in with those around you (even among different groups of friends). I can handle reigning my silly side in most of the time, as long as there are at least a few people I can let loose with. Thanks for your input, it's interesting to hear a young Canadian guy's perspective.

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I certainly think Swiss girls and women behave in a more feminine way than your average American gal. But these scarf-bearing men wearing baby blue shirts with yellow blazers with all that gel in their hair - are arguably more feminine, too. And graceful, discreet and courteous.
Very true!
I can't deny that I find men's style in Switzerland very sexy (I'm not a big fan of the 'macho' look. )
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Old 01.07.2011, 07:59
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Ok, so how do we keep it moving forward? Is there any progress being made? Let's organize protests - make a big deal out of this, because it IS a big deal. Let's march in the streets!! Are there any Swiss feminists out there? Where are they?

I'm completely serious about this. For change to happen, we need to fight for it, not wait for it to happen.
Admittedly things were less equal for women going back a generation or so but I am a little sceptical about the point that they weren't allowed to leave the house without the permission of their husbands until 1989 (I think my father in law would have got short shrift from my mother in law had he tried to enforce such a daft rule in their house), but today the gap is no wider than in other European countries. Yes, there are probably minor differences here or there where one country is better than another on a certain detail.

I think your outrage is a little misplaced - how long exactly have you been living and working here to form such a passion to change the system in Switzerland?


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I'm very passionate about women's rights - Canada has a lot of progress to make too. But living in Switzerland where equality is lagging behind and where being a working mom is next to impossible... I don't even know if I can survive that. My soul would be burning up constantly.
How do I reconcile being a feminist and becoming Swiss? Is it possible?
My friends and I must therefore be achieving the impossible in that case. I am a full time working mum and have my son in daycare. Yes it's expensive but if I was on a lower income I would qualify for a subsidised place. I am allowed to stay home with my son if he is sick and I can't be fired for being pregnant or being on maternity leave.

Judging by the sheer amount of nurseries and daycares around the city I would say my friends and I are not the exception.

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Cool!!
(But is she also a mother??? It would be awesome if she is.....)
She is not a mother because she has chosen not to be.
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  #83  
Old 01.07.2011, 10:38
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Ok, so how do we keep it moving forward? Is there any progress being made? Let's organize protests - make a big deal out of this, because it IS a big deal. Let's march in the streets!! Are there any Swiss feminists out there? Where are they?

I'm completely serious about this. For change to happen, we need to fight for it, not wait for it to happen.
I apologize if I am rude - but it is happening. Admittedly, maybe not all that public - and not much of it in English - but without fuss and more or less efficient.
When I was 18, we were enraged that the paid maternity leave was turned down again in the national vote, now 12 years later, the paid maternity leave is usus, and no one fusses about it anymore.

Maybe you have noticed a couple of weeks ago many women wearing purple shirts/blouses? That was to remember that women still earn less today than man, and the gap is widening.

You see - it's also a generation issue. For me and most of the women of my generation it's absolutely normal that we have the same rights as any man. And when I apply for a new job, I hand in my salary expectations based on a man's salary.
My mum on the other hand considers this as "outstepping" good behaviour and tomboyish - though I just insist in the rights granted to any female by our (reworked) constitution.

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That's awful... I almost wish I didn't know that. And I'm supposed to become settle down in a country where that is possible?
I'm very passionate about women's rights - Canada has a lot of progress to make too. But living in Switzerland where equality is lagging behind and where being a working mom is next to impossible... I don't even know if I can survive that. My soul would be burning up constantly.
How do I reconcile being a feminist and becoming Swiss? Is it possible?
It's more than 20 years away. Even for my generation (born and raised in the 80ies) these are things what are impossible to imagine. The girls I meet and teach today look at me as if I am telling them stories of the Victorian era, rather than 20 years away.

It isn't next to impossible. It's as with anything - e.g. garbage dumping / littering. It's easier to look away, than to ask the person to pick up the garbage just thrown away.
So it's easier for a man not to ask for a part time job, or easier for a woman not ringing a crib or another (it also depends if one lives in a city or out in the country)

It's the basic principle of "Zivilcourage" - stand your woman or man, and ask. Most people are afraid of hearing a "no" - what worse can happen?

The same goes for green energy - maybe you remember, back in the early 2000 years, there was the move for "Ask your energy provider if they offer a green option. If they do not, ask them why".
Someone makes a start - and the start for paternity rights and the right of the father to be a father and not just the family provider is (admittedly) slowly recognized by both society and economics.
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  #84  
Old 01.07.2011, 12:04
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Ok, so how do we keep it moving forward? Is there any progress being made? Let's organize protests -
I think you just missed it, when was it, on tue in ZU? Chicks for equal pay?

Don't think things are so backwards, well, in my opinion loads of the time they still are, eventhough there are now some more favorable stats maybe, it's still in people's mindsets, hiking up in a career is far more difficult than for a man, yady yady. But storming in, making a big party and use wenches rights for this will not make it more palatable for most local females I know. Might give you an opportunity to let loose as you put it, but if you want to achieve something here, you gotta first figure out how people operate, what makes them tick, how girls communicate, their priorities, you know, the general culture stuff. Because to walk in with expectations that what is good for us outside is what locals want is naive. Cute, though, and I like the energy.

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I can't deny that I find men's style in Switzerland very sexy (I'm not a big fan of the 'macho' look. )
I think middle ground between metro and macho would be nice.
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Old 01.07.2011, 12:14
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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I think middle ground between metro and macho would be nice.
Nothing beats the geek style!
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Old 01.07.2011, 12:28
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

Before moving here, I had always imagined Switzerland to be really progressive, politically. But I've found quite the opposite to be the case... and have even come to learn that Switzerland is a bit infamous for being a country in which political change is very slow to occur (which surprises me, considering that this is supposedly the only country in which direct democracy takes place).

So I'm curious why Switzerland IS so slow to make changes. It almost seems as if they're paranoid about making changes because it might risk upsetting whatever balance that is already in place (e.g. stable economy). It just seems like there are quite a few old laws in place here that are no longer convenient or relevant to modern society, such as making children go home for lunch and other things that seem to discourage mothers from being able to work. I find this quite sad (and frustrating) -- particularly in a country where the cost of living is so high and in which it would thus be more financially convenient if both parents could work.
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Old 01.07.2011, 12:44
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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..Switzerland is a bit infamous for being a country in which political change is very slow to occur (which surprises me, considering that this is supposedly the only country in which direct democracy takes place).
Direct democracy is a fabulous set up, should all members be well invested and informed, educated on the matter.

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So I'm curious why Switzerland IS so slow to make changes
If you care for a personal opinion, cash. Anything here costs a lot. Any little change will cost a fortune. As it is, moms being home and making lunches saves cash of the community, country. Both working parents mean investing in facilities to feed kids, supervise, pay the staff, educate them, security issues, responsibility issues. Moms at home, easy. Saves cash for the family, quite often, and saves the cash of the community. I would have never been able to join the work market if my partner was employed, and not a free lancer, since we are both newcomers, zero family support and I can only work little, by little, go up slowly, and out child needs to be fully immersed in day care in order to soak up the lingo to go to local school. Moms at home leaves work places free for others. Low unemployment rate, bunch of stay at home moms with no careers. Happy kids, happy community. I am not sure about the moms.
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  #88  
Old 01.07.2011, 13:02
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Easy in my case, they are all (girlfriend and two daughters) phased to the moon, full = PMS!

Tom

Does this work with strangers as well?
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Old 01.07.2011, 13:13
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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- Ehm - the 90ies please. At least in one canton. And yes - we are nearly as bad as Saudi Arabia. Until 1989 a women needed the permission of her husband to work outside the house.
Today a went to see my mother, born in 1936 and showed her your statement. She nearly broke down with laughing and probably is still recovering. May I ask where you grew up? My mother ist quite positiv that she never knew any women who had to get the permission of her husband to work outside the house. To have silly laws and to follow them are two different things.
As for the right to vote: I think one explanation for the late introduction might be that normally votes were considered as family votes. I remember a lot of heated discussions between my parents. In the end my father voted according to my mother wishes.
I lived in countries where the majority of women had to work and get a second income. The few housewives were considered as inferior. In Switzerland a lot of couples can live on one income and therefore have the freedom and the choice whether they want to work both. Honestly, I can't see anything bad, when he or she decides to stay at home and look after the children. To me a society where both are forced to work because of economical needs can't hardly be called advanced
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Old 01.07.2011, 14:32
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Before moving here, I had always imagined Switzerland to be really progressive, politically. But I've found quite the opposite to be the case... and have even come to learn that Switzerland is a bit infamous for being a country in which political change is very slow to occur (which surprises me, considering that this is supposedly the only country in which direct democracy takes place).

So I'm curious why Switzerland IS so slow to make changes. It almost seems as if they're paranoid about making changes because it might risk upsetting whatever balance that is already in place (e.g. stable economy). It just seems like there are quite a few old laws in place here that are no longer convenient or relevant to modern society, such as making children go home for lunch and other things that seem to discourage mothers from being able to work. I find this quite sad (and frustrating) -- particularly in a country where the cost of living is so high and in which it would thus be more financially convenient if both parents could work.
Easy to explain Sunshine. Switzerland is neutral. Just like in a car if you put a car in neutral, and give it some gas, it makes a lot of noise but doesn't go anywhere.
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Old 01.07.2011, 14:40
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Let's organize protests - make a big deal out of this ... Let's march in the streets!!

I'm completely serious about this. For change to happen, we need to fight for it, not wait for it to happen.
Yes, brilliant idea. you'll be a total hit with the locals, coming in and "making noise"... yes, the Swiss love that, especially from foreigners!

Yes, it is an issue, yes, it is being (slowly, as with everything in Switzerland) addressed. Yes, change should be "fought" for, but, absolutely not in that way. You will achieve absolutely nothing, and likely actually hurt your cause in the process.

You realize what you're "fighting" now isn't really legislative... it's ingrained culture, right?
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Old 01.07.2011, 14:43
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Yes, brilliant idea. you'll be a total hit with the locals, coming in and "making noise"... yes, the Swiss love that, especially from foreigners!

Yes, it is an issue, yes, it is being (slowly, as with everything in Switzerland) addressed. Yes, change should be "fought" for, but, absolutely not in that way. You will achieve absolutely nothing, and likely actually hurt your cause in the process.

You realize what you're "fighting" now isn't really legislative... it's ingrained culture, right?
Aren't most fights like this against ingrained culture?
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Old 01.07.2011, 14:47
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

Switzerland is changing & has done so continually since I arrived here 14 years ago. I am also a mother who works 100% plus I work in a male dominated industry, at the moment I am the only female in a team of 27 & I get treated exactly the same as the guys & I am properly compensated pay wise. The worst critics I have for my decision not to give up my career is other women so don't always blame the men.

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So I'm curious why Switzerland IS so slow to make changes.
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Old 01.07.2011, 14:50
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Aren't most fights like this against ingrained culture?
Yeah, perhaps I should elaborate a little..

most "protests" are against the powers that be, no?

Well, in a country of "direct democracy", the powers that be, are in fact the people. "Change" here is brought about by the endless referendums that we get in the mail constantly

So, if you want to protest, where would you exactly go? You want to be heard, so, you picket what, bahnhofstrasse? Because standing outside the empty town hall sure wont get you any attention.

My point, is that strategy needs to be adapted to environment. Protests are at best ineffective in most of the 1st world, and even less so here. If you really want change, you appeal to the people - not by getting in their face, they'll likely vote against you just out of spite, but appeal in a way that will actually show a need for change.

As an example, look at greenpeace. Now, I do actually agree with much of what they stand for, but in spite of their best intentions, their radical tactics have actually seen a rise in fashion-furs (I'm not saying it's directly due to them, just that they protest constantly, and there has been a rise in furs, so clearly, they aren't effective).
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Old 01.07.2011, 14:53
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Easy to explain Sunshine. Switzerland is neutral. Just like in a car if you put a car in neutral, and give it some gas, it makes a lot of noise but doesn't go anywhere.
Rubbish.. many of your "advanced" societies have never had a female head of state, gay marriages are banned, smoking weed is criminalised, prostitution is illegal, suicide as well...not so in CH.
And all these things weren't imposed on the backwards Swiss but were actually voted in by the electorate. Zürich is led by an open lesbian and nobody cares, nobody's ever heard of counter-demonstrations to the gay parade and the one time everyone remembers a foreigner being injured by skinheads was actually fake.
Newsflash for you, and sorry if it doesn't suit your worldview: Switzerland is quite a bit more progressive than most of your countries of reference, it also consistently ranks among the countries with the highest social and economic liberties. Young people are open-minded, speak languages, have friends from all over the place, have travelled. Apologies for raining in your parade, don't let facts get in your self-righteous way...

edit: Oh.. and that wearisome neutral cliché... good for a gag on MSNBC but living here... haven't you learned a thing?

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Old 01.07.2011, 14:58
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

There is some truth and some misunderstanding in your statement. It is true that in general European people are more sophisticated that North American people (Canada and USA similarly) but this is not true for all of them, actually i would say for a little part of it. Try to go to Italy then! In some district in Milano is like fashion walk! You can also feel all the eyes on you if you don't dress with fashion (and this does not mean that they are elegant). There for a lot of people the appearance is extremely important, and you will have people laughing at your shoulder if you are a little eccentric in how you dress. Not talking about the latest new that i read on the newspaper that put Italy back in the middle-ages....
Altogether i found that swiss woman, at least here in Basel, dress as they like, irrespective of any possible standard. I feel more conformable here that in my home country (Italy)
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Old 01.07.2011, 15:20
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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There is some truth and some misunderstanding in your statement. It is true that in general European people are more sophisticated that North American people (Canada and USA similarly) but this is not true for all of them, actually i would say for a little part of it. Try to go to Italy then! In some district in Milano is like fashion walk! You can also feel all the eyes on you if you don't dress with fashion (and this does not mean that they are elegant). There for a lot of people the appearance is extremely important, and you will have people laughing at your shoulder if you are a little eccentric in how you dress. Not talking about the latest new that i read on the newspaper that put Italy back in the middle-ages....
Altogether i found that swiss woman, at least here in Basel, dress as they like, irrespective of any possible standard. I feel more conformable here that in my home country (Italy)

Two of my Italian work colleagues were just teasing each other as one is going back to Milano to work for a while. She told her to leave her clothes here and learn how to dress again. The other had to promise not to visit until she had done the same. Your post just made me burst out laughing thinkign about it
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Old 01.07.2011, 15:22
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Rubbish.. many of your "advanced" societies have never had a female head of state, gay marriages are banned, smoking weed is criminalised, prostitution is illegal, suicide as well...not so in CH.
And all these things wasn't imposed on the backwards Swiss but was actually voted in by the electorate. Zürich is led by an open lesbian and nobody cares, nobody's ever heard of counter-demonstrations to the gay parade and the one time everyone remembers a foreigner being injured by skinheads was actually fake.
Newsflash for you, and sorry if it doesn't suit your worldview: Switzerland is quite a bit more progressive than most of your countries of reference, it also consistently ranks among the countries with the highest social and economic liberties. Young people are open-minded, speak languages, have friends from all over the place, have travelled. Apologies for raining in your parade, don't let facts get in your self-righteous way...

edit: Oh.. and that wearisome neutral cliché... good for a gag on MSNBC but living here... haven't you learned a thing?
Jeesh, Simon... aren't you being a bit self-righteous as well? Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and besides, I thought John posted that more to get a giggle rather than to be taken literally. I know I certainly giggled from his funny analogy.

I think it's true that Switzerland is progressive when it comes to the legalization of euthanasia, etc., but I do still (*personally*) think that there seems to be some truth to Switzerland's reputation for being conservative and slow to make political changes. Even my own Swiss husband seems to never think that there are any problems in the Swiss system that need to be addressed. I'll agree that this country is a utopia compared to most, but at the same time... I do sometimes wonder if the Swiss are a bit paranoid of causing any ripples in the system...
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Old 01.07.2011, 15:51
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

I agree with MusicChick that ripples cost money. Changing the way things work would be very expensive and have an outward affect as well. If children don't come home for lunch, women could work. If they work, but lose their jobs, they'll ask for unemployment. on it goes..
I think it's the same everywhere really, but each place has different issues. For example, I can't believe how many people are against health care plans in the US because they think it will cost them money. I know people who can't afford insurance, but don't want things changed because they think it will turn into some disaster, tax eating mess.
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Old 01.07.2011, 16:01
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Re: Gender roles in Switzerland

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Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and besides, I thought John posted that more to get a giggle rather than to be taken literally. I know I certainly giggled from his funny analogy.
Sure, like I said, don't let facts get into the way of a popular stereotype, I'm not trying to convert you, I just provided some real info just in case someone was reading it and didn't know you're talking out of your... backside. Sure, there are still things to improve, also for women, but we sure aren't throwing red paint and plastic dolls at abortion clinics, we're not in Saudi Arabia after all.

The vote for women meant that my grandmother had an extra vote, my other grandmother divorced after having my father, remarried a foreigner (gasp) and everyone was ok with that. My parents lived together for a few years before marriage and that is what most parents recommend their kids to do as well in good ol' Swisserland. Now I'm not claiming that CH is either progressive or conservative, it's simply how people here like it to be and they usually don't really care what others think. People trying to portray Switzerland of the 80s as the most conservative backwater of Europe should have a look at people's pictures of that time.. they certainly dressed quite a bit wilder than today, I know my parents did.

And just as a little disclaimer so you understand me better, I love a little rant and seldom hesitate to speak my mind, so no offence intended, just trying to cure your silly binary perception.

Last edited by simon_ch; 01.07.2011 at 16:12.
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