Switzerland is a woman. Myths about the golden cage versus reality.

The article by Emilia Sułek and Agnieszka Kamińska entitled “A Patriarchy’s Golden Cage Padded with Francs” was published in the women’s magazine “Wysokie Obcasy” on the 20th of February. It provoked many reactions – both positive and negative – among Polish women living in Switzerland, who are united in the Facebook group “DziewuCHy Szwajcaria”. On one hand, there were voices saying that Emilia and Agnieszka’s observations were completely in line with the experiences of their compatriots. On the other hand, there were comments about the subjective experiences of some migrant women which cannot be applied to the whole group. The progress in the struggle for women’s (and sexual minorities’) rights that has taken place in Swiss society in recent decades also deserves attention – some of the voices presented in the article are more a caricature of the Swiss system than a representation of it.

Women’s Strike 2019: Women protesting on the streets of Switzerland contradict the golden cage narrative. Credits: Olgierd Kajak

As representatives of the feminist collective DziewuCHy Szwajcaria and at the same time as women living in different parts of Switzerland, we decided to react to some of the theses presented in the article. It seems to us that the authors base their arguments only on their own experiences and generalise without reflection, which distorts the image of both the women living in Helvetia and the whole culture of this country.

In this text, we would like to refer polemically to the article by Emilia Sułek and Agnieszka Kamińska; therefore, we will not analyse in detail the principles of Swiss democracy, individual policies or specific areas of autonomy of the Helvetic cantons and municipalities. We will primarily address theses with which we disagree, while taking time to reflect and describe feminist issues in more detail in later analyses to be published at www.dziewuchy.ch.

The full article can be found on the Polish language version of the website.

DziewuCHy Szwajcaria. Credits: Olgierd Kajak