“Pioneers – then – now – tomorrow” was our motto for our public event we had planned. Due to the pandemic it had to be converted into a movie.
We traced our ADF history back to its beginnings with the Swiss suffragettes since 1912 an affiliate of the former International Alliance of Women’s Suffrage. We wanted to bring our courageous pioneers out of oblivion.
The first part includes speeches given by Ruth Dreifuss a former Swiss Federal Councillor, Jessica Kehl former president of ADF Suisse and Greta Gysin a young national parliamentary.
In part two presenting a theatre performance, 4 actresses took on the role of 4 well-known historical ADF pioneers. They were discussing with 4 politically active young feminists who brought in their own requests in a rather spontaneous way. All had to be in German or French, but English subtitles were out of our reach.
We were particularly proud of our matronage patronage committee with prominent Swiss people, 5 former female Federal Councillors, many current members of the national parliament, artists, writers and academics – mostly women.
What has been achieved? What remains to be done? What future do we want?
For the script, we could largely rely on the excellent history book “The struggle for equal rights” (Le combat pour les droits égaux) edited by ADF Suisse and presented at IAW Congress in 2009.
Meanwhile, on lockdown, the artists got very fascinated by investigating the biographies of their pioneers. Almost all repetitions took place virtually. The young feminists among them also two members of the national parliament could only participate for one single zoom-session!
It was very lucky, that Martine Gagnebin, president of ADF Vaud could introduce to us Cristina Gagnebin Müller, her niece as film director. All participants were thrilled about it. Two singers also worked with us. They even transcribed the famous “March of the Women”, the song of the English suffragettes, into a music piece for two voices.
All participants at the event gathered at Berne in June. The movie had to be produced within just one day! For Cristina Gagnebin and Yuri Tavares, photographers, it was challenging to squeeze all into such a limited timeframe. We got a crash course about filming because most of us had no such experience. Our feelings of excitement were so great, that we all were spontaneously singing the final song together – an unforgettable event!
Postproduction and presentation
Nicoletta De Carli a language teacher and ADF member wrote all the subtitles in French or German.
On 4 September 2021 the movie was presented both at Basel and Pully near Lausanne. It became a huge success.
The actresses and singers emphasised that they only now became aware of how much the pioneers had to fight for women’s rights at that time. They are very grateful to them and want to get involved in women’s rights in future!