The path to political equality

She adopts a new perspective and a new approach and succeeds wonderfully. The historian Franziska Rogger tackles the history and commitment of Swiss women to political equality. The long, arduous path, the obstacles and the stalling tactics deployed by men are much lamented in this field. Franziska Rogger leaves this aside. In her book “Gebt den Schweizerinnen ihre Geschichte!” (Give Swiss women their history!), she presents the battle for women’s suffrage as a path made up of many small victories – a difficult and sometimes gruelling journey. She reveals how much imagination, fighting spirit, persuasive effort and solidarity across divisions of background and party political affiliation were involved in the long struggle.

In the second part of her book, Rogger focuses in-depth on the life of Marthe Gosteli, the now 98-year-old founder of the archive on the history of the Swiss women’s movement. From long interviews with probably Switzerland’s most significant feminist, a kind of Gosteli family history emerges where the father was involved in politics but the women also had a great deal to say. The book reads well because Franziska Rogger is a good storyteller and because she deliberately avoids the jargon and style of historians.



Franziska Rogger, “Gebt den Schweizerinnen ihre Geschichte!”; Verlag NZZ libro, Zurich, 2015; 396 pages; CHF 48

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