VOTE 71 / 21
50 Years of women’s rights to vote in Switzerland
What would Switzerland look like if only women, inter, non-binary and trans people could vote?
Only in 1971, the right to vote for women was recognized at the national level in Switzerland. In 2021, this fundamental democratic right celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since we thought that it is more of a shamefull and painfull history thana a moment to celebrate we wanted to create a provocative performance which had the aim to show and let feel women, inter, non-binary and trans people that we have to go with a double speed into politics and use democratic instruments for feminist demands. With the cultural, arts and feminist Festival Les Créatives we seized this historic opportunity to show that women, inter, non-binary and trans people can strongly influence political decisions in Switzerland.
We used the purest form of direct democracy in order to organise this performance: popular gatherings for voting, also called “Landsgemeinde”, was the place where men over decades voted against the women’s rights to vote. We wanted to reappropriate this space of sad history. We went to the place where these “Landsgemeinden” still are happening, Appenzell Innerhoden, in the deepness of Switzerland, in order to organise a feminist “Landsgemeinde”, and vote over topics which are concerning women, girls, inter, non-binary and trans people directly.
We created the political performance “VOTE 71/21”, with which we turned the world upside down. In this project and for the first time only the voices of women, inter, non-binary and trans people counted in order to show the absurdity of excluding 50% of our society in popular votations.
The voting objects were constituted by a Feminist Task Force, a group of people from backgrounds that fight for gender equality and against other forms of discrimination, chosen to bring their expertise to this project, with a particular attention to inclusiveness and intersectionality. The voting objects were submitted to a consultation where collectives and associations could give there opinion upon before they were finalised. The topics can still be downloaded as “voting” booklet in French or German.
The VOTE 71/21 project ran from May to November 2021:
6 months, more than 1000 voting participants, the world’s first feminist Landsgemeinde: one in Appenzell, one in Geneva, 12 people in the feminist taskforce, 8 voting topics, a roundtable on feminist democracy at the Karl der Grossen in Zurich, a discussion at the Maison des Associations in Geneva and a “voting Sunday” at the University of Geneva with Lauren Bastide, Micheline Calmy-Rey and Lisa Mazzone !
I was happy enough to design and implement this political performance as project coordinator together with Yael Anders, a designer and good friend of mine.
Find our voices in the media here: