Direct democracy adds the right to decide to the right to elect; big difference !

Swiss men AND women have the right to elect and the right to make and stop laws and to control government expenses; do you ?

Swiss women were behind most Western women in having political power; they had to wait several decades more than in the other democracies to have the right to vote.

It might have something to do with direct democracy itself because it was the men who decided by referendum. It was not like in representative democracies, where the elected representatives could just simply pass a law giving women the right to vote. Of course, the same representative politicians can also rise your taxes and do many other things the people do not like; like raising taxes, favouring private schools over public schools and many more things.

We should not forget either that many women in Switzerland, the US, and other countries, opposed that women vote. Among other reasons, those women felt their role as mothers and wives was special already. They believed that voting involved women in political life, and that this would corrupt women as it had corrupted men.

Perhaps that also slowed down the right to vote for women, in Switzerland an other places.

Anyhow, Swiss women got the right to vote in 1971,  French women in 1944 and American women 1920. If you look at the long history of most countries, a few decades is not so much.

It is interesting to note that in the same year that Swiss women got the right to vote, a Swiss woman, Lise Girardin, served in the Swiss federal government as one of the 46 members of the Council of States, which is the Swiss upper chamber.

But note this; once Swiss women got the right to vote, the same direct democracy that slowed down their right to vote, gave Swiss women far more power than the women, and the men, in any of those countries, or any other country in the World. This is so because in Swiss direct democracy women, and men, have the right to vote and also the right to decide.

Not only that, by agreement among the major Swiss parties, there will always be at least three women among the seven Councillors who make up the national government of Switzerland. All the Councillors serve as President of Switzerland on a rotating bases. As a result, Switzerland will have far more female presidents than any other country in the World.

Even if other democratic countries, like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, India, etc., can have a woman in the top job, once she is gone there may not be a woman in the top spot for years; in Switzerland there will be at least three women at the top level and many women presidents.

If we take together Swiss direct democracy and this provision of the Swiss National Council, it means Swiss women “started late” but have leapfrogged the women, and the men, of all those other countries, including those where women had the right to vote decades before Swiss women.

It is obvious that the injustice committed by Swiss men in granting women the right to vote late, does not invalidate the overwhelmingly positive aspects of direct democracy.

To say direct democracy is worse than representative democracy because of the late right of women to vote, or because of the banning of minarets in Swiss mosques, or many  more reasons, makes no sense. It does not make sense because direct democracy givers far more rights and power to ordinary citizens, men and women, than representative democracy.

The Swiss, men and women, have the right to decide. The decide on issues and can decide and prevail over the wishes of politicians.

If I had to choose between the right to vote and the right to decide, I much prefer the right to decide. The right to decide gives us, the voters, control over the politicians and it also gives us decision power on how the country, the state, the province or the town, are run. Representative democracy does not do that.

Swiss men and women are politically far ahead of the rest. They have direct democracy since 1891; a few decades have gone by for the rest of us…

Isn’t it time to for you and your country to catch up with the Swiis!

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