In a column in Blick, Aileen Zumstein called for more mutual support, promotion and acceptance among women. She is convinced that this is the only way to achieve a tolerant and diverse culture.
Published in Blick (19.12.2018)
Is it just because of evil men that women cannot advance? It is not quite that easy, says Aileen Zumstein.
“Switzerland has two new federal councilors – but the country does not have enough business women. The election of Karin Keller-Sutter and Viola Amherd is celebrated as a success, and the jubilation is considerable. Women praise one another, and solidarity is the predominant attitude. The basic tenor is that everything will improve from now on. Women have finally arrived in politics – even though they have in fact been contributing to politics for years.
“The question is why is being successful as a woman something special? It is tempting to paint a picture of evil men: they do not want to share women’s successes, they do not take them seriously, and reduce them to housework and childbearing. This, however, only addresses half of society. This is because, exactly as we demand that men do their share in supporting equality of the sexes, it is also time for women to stop contributing to their own discrimination.
“My observations show me that resentment and envy towards women often comes from other women – female enemies among their own allies. Snide comments about career and family planning – ‘You work full time and have three children?’, ‘How can you as a woman not want to have children?’, referring to others as bad mothers, nasty looks at an outfit, malicious comments about someone’s figure, or claiming that a woman is only successful and thus in a management position because of her appearance: this is quite common among women.
“I am convinced that this behavior bothers many women, and not just as often claimed from a male-dominated environment. The fact that women show solidarity only on days such as this year’s election to the federal council, on International Women’s Day, or on the historical day of the introduction of female suffrage is an admission of failure.
”We need a tolerant culture where women support, encourage, and accept one another, and where they can meet one another in an open atmosphere. Not one where women envy, condemn, and criticize one another. This would create the primary basis for a society where federal councilors and management employees are not defined by gender but by their competencies.”