Did you know that Switzerland was the last country in Europe to grant women the right to vote?
In 1848, the new Federal Constitution guaranteed every Swiss citizen a general and direct right to vote, but women were excluded... Of course.
It was not until 7 February 1971 that Swiss women finally won the right to vote (78 years after New Zealand, the first country to do so).
This long-standing battle was brought to a successful conclusion thanks to the courage and commitment of many women. Marthe Gosteli fought for the cause of women throughout her life.
Marthe was born in 1917 near Bern (Switzerland), into a farming family. In her home, politics was talked about a lot, but at that time only the man's word counted.
The status of married women was dramatic and although her father was not a macho man, the way they were treated shocked her.
Once married, a woman had no access to her wealth without her husband's signature and until 1985 he even had the power to forbid his wife to work.
Can you imagine?
They were treated like children, forced to live at the mercy of their husbands.
Marthe made this discrimination her fight.
A fight so that women, through education, could learn a trade in order to acquire financial independence and gain confidence and influence in all areas of society.
But such a battle cannot be won alone. The activists were mostly single women or widows.
As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers.
And it was this ironclad female unity that led the Swiss to victory in 1971. Perseverance and diplomacy were the key words of this success.
For me, Marthe Gosteli is the perfect representative of an active, intelligent and independent woman.