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Interview with U. Nakamura-Stoecklin and A. Heiniger - Swiss Women’s Rights Association -Switzerland

Updated: Jul 4, 2023


Nakamura-Stoecklin

Ms. Nakamura-Stoecklin received a degree in Nursing and Surgery in Switzerland in addition to a degree in Psychology and Sociology from Northwestern University in Illinois. She retired from practicing medicine in 2002, however she remains an active member of ADF-SVG Swiss Women’s Rights Association. She was also a founding member for “Women for Peace Basel”, a delegate of IAW at the World Health Organization (WHO), and a coordinator for the IAW Project “Water and Pads for School Girls”, which is a non-profit whose mission is to provide women in developing countries within Africa and Asia sex education and resources to protect themselves against abuse and harassment.


Ms. Annemarie Heiniger

Ms. Annemarie Heiniger has worked as a Commercial Apprenticeship/Employee and a Naturopathic Practitioner. She served as the political secretary of the women’s organization OFRA Basel from 1984-1987 and was also a founding member of the political feminist women’s party “Frauenliste Basel” (Women’s List). In addition, she was Co-President of ADF-SVF Swiss Women's Rights Association from 2020-2022.


Gender Equality Statistics

Gender Development Index: 0.968

Gender Inequality Index: 0.025

Classification: 1; high equality in human development amongst genders



 

Complete Interview With Nakamura-Stoecklin and Ms. Annemarie Heiniger


Dr. Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho

What is the most common stereotype about women in Switzerland?

Ursula Nakamura

Like everywhere still today the great load of unpaid care of children and old or other vulnerable people is carried out by women, partly due to the lack of enough lowcost daycare-centers. This makes often very difficult for women to build a professional career the same as men.

Henry Gauthier

Switzerland was one of the last countries to grant women the right to vote. Women in Switzerland gained the right to vote in 1971. Why do you think this was? Why was Switzerland so late to give women the right to vote compared to other European countries? Lastly, has Switzerland caught up and passed its European neighbors in terms of the status of women in society?

Ursula Nakamura

Unlike other democratic countries in Switzerland we have a “direct democracy”. This means that voters traditionally are not only electing the parliament-members, but they also can directly influence by quarterly votes the national executive and legal authorities on their decision, be i. e. g. road taxing, health care costs funding of national universities etc. So instead of a often rather progressive parliament in Switzerland the male voters had to say yes to the women’s suffrage. This was finally successful thanks to the tremendous amount of advocacy by the former Swiss “Suffragettes” and others – and then after 1971 the public in general had “moved forward”. Consequently many demands for equal rights were relatively soon accepted. In 1981 equal rights for women and men in family, education and work was anchored in the Swiss constitution. Switzerland also promoted the United Nations’ declaration CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and ratified it in 1997.

Henry Gauthier

The FRBB focuses heavily on the social status of women. How has the social status of women changed in your eyes while being involved in the FRBB? How does the position (socially and politically) of women in Switzerland compared to their position at the start of the 21st century and to the rest of Europe?

Annemarie Heiniger

FRBB has always been committed to the equality of women. At all levels, the goal is 50/50 representation in all bodies, boards etc.: in parliaments and governments, in professional life, especially in management and boards of 2 directors, equal pay - but it also applies the other way around→ Care work should also be divided 50/50. The situation has improved since the year 2000 - but unfortunately it still needs our commitment. The comparison with Europe is difficult, Scandinavia is certainly more progressive in women's rights.

Owen O’Connor

What has been the biggest improvement you've seen in terms of gender equality over the last 10 years in Switzerland?

Annemarie Heiniger

New marriage law, sexual offence law, prosecution of domestic violence, control of companies regarding equal pay.

Grace Souza

Given other feminist movements across the world and how far women’s rights have come, why do you think that it has taken women in Switzerland so long to protest for equal rights?

Annemarie Heiniger

Women have protested again and again. For example, for full-day schools, for affordable daycare centers, for equal pay, etc.. But they have also often come to terms with their situation and sought private solutions. - Or do you mean women's suffrage? Ursula Nakamura answered this above.

Katie Lilley

Now that women have suffrage in Switzerland, do there continue to be issues regarding the matter? For example, women who try to vote are met with resistance, or women do not vote because they are uneducated in how the process works?

Ursula Nakamura

No, this is no issue here. Already well before 1971 many women could participate in local or cantonal votes. In the last 50 years even political parties initially against the suffrage have now integrated female candidates. In fact statistically there is usually a slight majority of female voters! Now the discussion is shifting. More than 25% of the population here are foreigners, mostly with a migrant background. Among others also women’s organizations are fighting for their voting rights.

Dr. Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho

Are women involved in politics in Switzerland? Are there generational differences? Are younger women more involved in politics?

Ursula Nakamura

Yes, women are very much involved in politics. Already with the national elections in 1971 eleven (!) women could join the Nationalrat (Lower Chamber). Ever since there was a slow but steady increase, starting rather on the communal level of presenting women as nominees. At present the percentage is 41% in the Nationalrat and 26% in the Ständerat (Upper Chamber). 3 women and 4 men are members of the Swiss executive. Of course regarding specific issues there might be generational differences, but talking about elections at present there is a new wave of highly engaged young women presenting themselves as candidates.

Keaton Rannow

Given your personal experience in governmental positions, what would you say is the most effective way to further women's rights?

Annemarie Heiniger

Quotas/Quotes: 40/60 - everywhere, also in care work. Especially in care work it would revolutionize the whole world.

Owen O’Connor

How has your extensive background in politics helped you to fight for things such as equal pay for woman and overall gender equality?

Annemarie Heiniger

The Background is the basis, but also the personal concern and life experience as a woman often shows not to be equal to a man, but also the personal affliction as a woman often shows not to be equal to a man

Stephen Park

During your work fighting for Women’s rights, do you feel there is one fundamental issue that society needs to solve to allow for the easier implementation of equal rights?

Annemarie Heiniger

The fundamental problem is the power imbalance between men and women. The fear of male violence, sexual violence and even feminicide. - This is where we have to start. But who voluntarily gives up power? In addition, there is the unequal distribution of money and, once again, the unequal distribution of care work.

Anh Nguyen

Participating in the Association for Women’s Rights Basel, you have participated in many campaigns fighting for women’s rights in many aspects. Among that, what things do you consider the most struggling when it comes to reaching gender equality?

Annemarie Heiniger

I am sorry - I have to repeat myself: Redistribution of care work would already change a lot. Equal pay, fair distribution of money, protecting women from sexual violence - this already starts with sexual pick-up/unwanted touching, make a move on a woman, etc.

Dr. Sola-Corbacho

Is gender-based violence an issue in Switzerland? Is the Swiss government and society dealing with it properly?

Ursula Nakamura

Unfortunately yes. But several milestones are reached. Since 2004 acts of violence are punishable by law, whether they are committed in the public or the private sphere. Since April 1, 2004, acts of violence committed in a couple are crimes that are prosecuted and punished without the injured party having to file a complaint. In 2018 the Swiss government ratified the Istanbul Convention on violence against women, originated by the Council of Europe. Switzerland as a signatory of CEDAW has also regular official reviews by the United Nations. One of the points checked is 4 the prevention of gender based violence. ADF-SVF together with other women’s and human rights NGO’s is involved in this process.

Keaton Rannow

According to a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) study, Switzerland recently dropped out of a top 10 ranking in most gender-equal countries to #13. Are there any specific causes for this drop you've observed? And is there any particular reason why Western European countries tend to dominate this list?

Annemarie Heiniger

The WEF Gender Gap study examines many political, economical, social and financial aspects of equality, points which are bound to show short-term variations. We hope that next time Switzerland will have better scores.

Dr. Sola-Corbacho

Is the Swiss media (TV, newspapers, magazines…) helping to achieve gender equality in your country?

Ursula Nakamura

One cannot give a satisfying answer here. The mainstream media echo more or less the usual daily concerns of people. Like everywhere gender issues are rather treated marginally. But e. g. before specific votes or elections then there might be huge debates, e. g. at the moment the question of the retirement age of women (64 years versus 65 years for men). The coverage of women’s and human rights depends largely on the representation of female journalists within the editorial staff.

Jennifer Campbell

Have you found while working in your previous fields there was a lot of sexist language used within the workplace?

Annemarie Heiniger

Yes, that was worse in the past than today. Or let's say so, it was almost selfevident and no one has resisted big, otherwise you were considered a prude. Today, unfortunately, it is often still so - just not so obvious. Or it happens in the social media.

Katie Lilley

One of the issues addressed by the Fraunenrechte Beider Basel (FRBB) was sexism free language and communication culture. In your experience working with women with drug/alcohol addictions, is there an increase in sexist language and communication directed at women with these addictions versus without?

Annemarie Heiniger

Sexism-free language is a big area. It makes no difference whether we are among drug addicts or healthy people. Nevertheless, the language in the milieu is definitely more brutal and sexist than elsewhere. Since the German language has masculine and feminine nouns, it is more complex than in the English language. Example: Professor = male or Professorin = female. Plural: if there are 2 women and one man - usually the male plural is taken. This is a never ending battle. Because if women are not visible in the language, they are not perceived.

Keaton Rannow

The motto "Wages. Time. Respect." guided much of the 2019 nationwide women's strike that you participated in. Why do you think gender pay gaps, both in Switzerland and Worldwide, persist despite legislation that explicitly prohibit them?

Ursula Nakamura

There are detailed statistics from 2018 about this phenomenon. Women earn on average 19.0% less than men. In the private sector, the wage gap measured against the average of men is even slightly larger. If one analyses this wage gap around 55% of this wage difference is due to explanatory factors taken into account, such as age, level of education, sector, etc., while 45% remains unexplained. This means that women earn on average about 8.1% less than men for comparable, observable characteristics."

Will Campa

According to a UN report, women and girls aged 15 and older spend 17.3% of their time on unpaid care and domestic work compared to just 11.3% spent by men (UNWomen.org). While Switzerland is a champion of equality in a legislative sense, there are still deep-rooted cultural inequalities. How does ADF-SVF plan to approach altering Swiss culture towards a less patriarchal format?

Ursula Nakamura

As mentioned in No 1 ADF-SVF tries to raise the general awareness of the disproportionately great load of unpaid care of children and old or other vulnerable people carried out by women. ADF-SVF supports all measures taken for more and better day-care centers, for an adequate parental leave after childbirth, more incentives for men regarding part-time jobs etc.

Khang Le

Since salary/wage can only be decided by the Boards of Corporations, what exactly did your programs carry out to highlight the importance of equal pay among genders ?

Annemarie Heiniger

We have always advocated control measures for women's wages. Such a law now exists throughout Switzerland for companies with at least 200 employees. In Basel - my home town - there should be a law with a control already from 50 employees. These laws have not been developed by our organization, but we have always supported them.

Khang Le

What are your thoughts on the fact that the salary is being distributed based on gender (Globally, a woman earns 82 cents for every dollar a man earns ). What does the stat look like in Basel?

Annemarie Heiniger

I am in favor of not having wage differences between women and men. Unfortunately, there are in Switzerland - almost 20%. Ursula Nakamura has explained this under question 13.

Anh Nguyen

Being one of the major leaders of the women's strike, what do you think of the relationship between the women's suffrage movement and the labor movement?

Ursula Nakamura

Both are important social movements. The first Swiss women’s strike was initiated by the feminist branches of unions, but right away widely supported by many women’s organizations. Ever since ADF-SVF played an important role in it, particularly with the phenomenally huge strike in 2019.

Brennan Balzac

During your political career, what was your experience with other politicians and how they handled issues involving women and equality?

Annemarie Heiniger

As a person, I was mostly respected in parliamentary work. However I was often ridiculed with my proposals because they were so-called women's issues. We women from the Women’s-List were in the minority in the votes in parliament. Even conservative women voted against us. On the other hand, left-wing men voted for us. Nevertheless, we lost most of the time, because the parliament has a majority of conservatives.


Dr. Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho

How peacefully does the Swiss government handle public activism in reference your 2019 demonstration?

Annemarie Heiniger

All demonstrations must be registered and approved. If these are approved, the police is ok. When women demonstrate without permission, there are harsh attacks, sometimes with tear gas and rubber shot - no matter whether it is women or men.

Will Campa

The women's rights demonstration in 2019 was described as "the largest demonstration in recent Switzerland history". Please describe how you felt to be involved in that event and what it meant to you to see thousands of women come together in support of each other.

Ursula Nakamura

It was a wonderful feeling being in the middle of thousands of women and also many men, all of them together whether old or young demonstrating for equal rights. It was also indirectly inspired by< the unforgettable Women’s March in US in 2017.

Ashlyn Belote

An article from Women Alliance commented on how the women's strike in June of 2019 was a “clear signal for rapid progress in gender equality.” In the past three years have you seen any of that “rapid progress” when it comes to gender inequality or have things stayed the same?

Ursula Nakamura

The strike took place in June 2019 and had a great impact on the following national elections in October. Never before so many women parliamentary member had been elected. It also was the impetus for many parliamentary motions concerning equality and gender.

Henry Gauthier

As I have read more and more about you and your incredible and impactful work, I have learned about your advancement and involvement in the feminist movement in Switzerland. What caused you to switch 7 focus from women’s rights in Switzerland to women’s health and sexual knowledge in Asia and Africa?

Ursula Nakamura

I was involved within the Swiss women’s movement (Frauenrechte beider basel) since the seventies, but always intertwined with health-care issues during my professional life. Later on I became co-president of the ADF-SVF where among many other issues questions of women’s health were very important. Finally I ended up at the global umbrella organization, International Alliance of Women, and had the chance to represent IAW at WHO for a few years.

Brennan Balzac

You have lived in several countries across the world, how has the treatment of women differed between each of the locations?

Ursula Nakamura

In France, UK, US or Japan I always could live within a rather favorable surrounding, and never felt obvious discrimination against women. But generally speaking the situation of women and girls in Japan is still very much based on traditional values. So despite of their often excellent education it is still much harder for women to build their own career. The obstacles are huge. But slowly things are improving in Japan too.

Khang Le

As an active member of the WHO, what are your thoughts about how woman in undesirable area can maintain both physical and mental wellbeing and get access to required gender education?

Ursula Nakamura

This is one of the most relevant challenges the Wold Health Organization is facing, the enormous gap between wealthy and poor countries. While we are discussing here for example, about completely unnecessary and expensive cosmetic surgery, countries in the global South are lacking the most basic necessities. As the only global organization WHO is committed to universal health coverage. WHO constantly exhorts the financially and economically strong countries to share their resources in the health sector with the beneficiaries. Particularly urgent are the WHO appeals around the Covid vaccinations, where even today in poor countries only about 2% of the population could get vaccinated - and unfortunately so many people have died. WHO engirt itself very much for mental health. Its multilingual manual of practice is widely used in health centers in many countries. WHO consistently advocates for compliance to the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, as fundamental human right. Prevention, e.g. of unwanted pregnancies, is therefore extremely important. This is only possible thanks to a worldwide knowledge about contraception and family planning. In the case of abortions, it fights for good medical care.

Jennifer Campbell

Given your background in the medical field, were you exposed to the lack of understanding about sex education around the world, sparking the idea for Water Pads for Schoolgirls?

Ursula Nakamura

Personally I rarely have encountered a complete lack of sex education and the biological cycle of women. But in many cultures there are lots of taboos about it. So, when nursing in obstetrics I have met women, who were extremely afraid about childbirth connecting it with witchcraft etc.


Jennifer Campbell

With your work for ‘Water and Pads for Schoolgirls’, have you found that educating people on menstrual cycles has helped with some of the negative connotations surrounding it, even making it easier to talk about with others?

Ursula Nakamura

Yes, definitely yes! Now after 4 years, the on-site WP coordinators are seeing the positive results. Even more than in the beginning, the school management, the parents of the students and the local authorities are supporting the project. The students are eager to learn and realize how nature has organized the female cycle and thus the whole sexuality in a very useful way. The girls get more self-confidence and the boys more respect for the opposite sex.

Katie Lilley

By having a background in the medical / healthcare fields, did you notice girls and women at a disadvantage due to lack of feminine hygiene items or proper education and this is what prompted you to coordinate the project "Water and Pads for School Girls"?

Ursula Nakamura

I knew about period poverty but have rarely encountered it in my professional life.

Sam Brownawell

How has your background and education in nursing supported your “Water and Pads for Schoolgirls” project both from a professional and humanitarian standpoint?

Brennan Balzac

With your background in healthcare, were you exposed to the realities of improper education and access for young girls in extreme cases, is that what prompted your later participation in the IAW project?

Ursula Nakamura

Answer to both questions: At a WHO session in 2017, young pioneering people told about health movements they had started, including a young social worker from Nepal. She reported that they helped women and girls who have to live excluded in shabby huts during menstruation. We were shocked. My IAW colleague Gudrun Haupter and I started a corresponding survey among the African and Asian IAW member organizations. They all urgently wanted IAW to do something, did their own research and contributed their ideas. Just one year later, the first pilot project started in Cameroon. Now 10 IAW organizations with around 20 schools are involved. Together with three colleagues in Europe, we take care of the "back office" and the necessary donations.

Khang Le

Were the Water and Pad activities in Congo carried out successfully in the face of life-threatening danger? Do you think these threats are worth it to convert the situation of schoolgirls in war-torn countries?

Ursula Nakamura

Yes, it is especially important to reach those schoolgirls in particularly dangerous regions. Our IAW colleague in DR Congo confirms this. Together with the school authorities, she has to carefully assess the situation in advance.

Grace Souza

Do you think if women in these third-world countries had access to phones or the internet they would have easier access to knowledge on sexual education and feminine hygiene? How do you think this could play a role in creating their own movement for equality?

Ursula Nakamura

Yes, better universal access to IT and the Internet is urgently needed in those countries, because this is often completely lacking. Due to the digital divide, entire sections of the population are left behind and have few opportunities for life and development. There are remote schools without e-mail addresses, let alone Internet and websites! It is only thanks to the pictures and reports about the WP project that these schools are known to the public at all. It is wonderful to see how open-minded these young people are!

Anh Nguyen

The project (Water and Pad Project) stated that “due to the lockdown, many girls being at home were more than ever exposed to violence and unwanted pregnancies”. In your opinion, should women have access to non-prescription birth control, and how should access to medically safe abortion be protected?

Ursula Nakamura

See also my answers regarding WHO. Yes, proven there were more gender based violence and unwanted pregnancies during the global covid lockdown noted. Free consultations and free distribution of contraceptives is a goal from which we are unfortunately far away worldwide.

Anh Nguyen

Was there any specific event/moment that inspired you to write your book “The Struggle for Equal Rights” and do you think this book has made any important impact on your campaign for women's rights?

Ursula Nakamura

The book was published not by us personally, but by two colleagues from ADFSVF for its 100th anniversary in 2009. It is a collection of knowledgeable contributions by historians on a wide range of topics related to the history of women's rights in Switzerland. The book is still a reference work on the subject today. The 23 biographies about pioneering women are exciting. For the 50th anniversary of women's suffrage in 2021, we ADF-SVF has selected four of them as the basis for a film. Those four women meet in the time machine 4 young politically active feminists today: What has been achieved? What do we want in the future?

Quan Cao

I have read the post regarding WATER AND PADS – A REVOLUTIONARY PROJECT. In the post, you mentioned that you want specific donation to three new projects, one with LA COLOMBE in Togo, and the others in Cameroon. Why do you want to launch the project in these two regions but not in other regions in Africa?

Ursula Nakamura

The WP project is open to all interested IAW member organizations. However, only when the limited financial resources allow us to do so, new IAW organizations e. g. Togo, can join.

Grace Souza

Your nonprofit, “Water and Pads for Schoolgirls,” helps women in developing countries gain access to hygiene necessities and sexual education. What do you think is the reason behind the government not taking action and helping out their own citizens?

Ursula Nakamura

There are several reasons. Sometimes it is a complete ignorance or an ignorance plus unwillingness of the respective authorities. But above all, the necessary funds are lacking. The public health and education budgets in developing countries are not even sufficient for the bare necessities.

Stephen Park

With your project: Water and Pads for Schoolgirls, what inspired you to expand your scope from domestic to foreign developing countries? Do you hope to further expand the scope of your work in the future?

Ursula Nakamura

See answers above

Hannah Sachs

Since menstrual shame seems to be deeply engrained within some of these communities, are project participants ever hesitant to engage at first? If so, how do you convince them this is in their best interest? If not, what emotions to the schoolgirls typically demonstrate when this project begins and do their emotions change as it progresses?

Ursula Nakamura

See answers above. The local WP coordinators are experts in dealing with the authorities and the media. They have always been involved in various projects and are appreciated by the population. They have also supported the mandatory prevention measures during the Covid lockdown by conducting information sessions in remote schools and villages and organizing disinfectants, etc. This helped for the mutual understanding.

Hannah Sachs

Are there any noticeable shifts in the schoolgirls' self-confidence and self-image after working with the WP project?

Ursula Nakamura

See above

Stephen Park

In your work with women suffering from addictions, have there been common reasons why they turn to drugs despite their inherent risks? Do you have any ideas on how to prevent these addictions in the first place?

Annemarie Heiniger

In Basel, we have known the controlled heroin distribution “project Janus” (drug substitution-project) since 1994. This prevents at least the procurement crime and also the drug prostitution. It turned out that many drug-addicted women have experienced a history of sexual abuse as girls. - So the goal is to give girls protection and security so that they can learn to defend themselves and become strong and independent. They should have the same rights as boys.

Sam Brownawell

Is it more often that the affected women seek help with addiction or is it more typically family members who reach out to your organization seeking assistance for their loved one?

Annemarie Heiniger

The “Frauen-Oase” (Women's Oasis) was a counseling center that was open in the evenings and at night - because of the drug smear/ Drug prostitutes. The address of the Oase was secret at the beginning and was exchanged and recommended among themselves. That is why no relatives or family members came. Today the address is public and the opening hours are now also during the day. But there are rarely relatives who seek advice.

Katie Lilley

Given your background in politics, have you seen other politicians turn a blind eye to the problems of women with drug / alcohol addictions?

Annemarie Heiniger

Yes I have. This topic is so far removed from a regular work and family life. Alcohol addiction is judged more tolerantly in men than in women. Drug addiction is difficult anyway.

Hannah Sachs

How do you navigate the complex emotions and thought processes behind substance addiction when working clients? What are your thoughts on psychological based support?

Annemarie Heiniger

The Women's Oasis itself offers counseling, arranges psychological care and accompanies people to public offices. Addiction and homelessness are often linked.

Quan Cao

What is the optimal support to help women who use illegal drugs reduce their feelings of compulsion to finance their drug consumption?

Annemarie Heiniger

Addiction - is very difficult to treat. In Basel, as I said, there is the State Janus Project, where heroin or methadone is dispensed under medical supervision.

Will Campa

Has your view on addiction changed while working with women through frauenOase? If so, how?

Annemarie Heiniger

Yes, that is clearly the case. Before that, this world was completely foreign to me. I became more open and tolerant of people who don't fit the norm.

Jennifer Campbell

Your organization Frauen-Oase helps sex workers in Switzerland struggling with addiction; have you found that there’s a higher number of women who deal with addiction in that line of work as a way to deal with the stress?

Annemarie Heiniger

The women who visit the Oasis today not only have addiction problems, but are affected by poverty, have no housing, and all of this means stress - usually their whole lives. Personal experience and background

Owen O’Connor

How was your diverse educational background helped in your work for the betterment of women all over the world?

Ursula Nakamura

I was lucky that I could work in different countries and thus got to know different cultures. Wherever I was, I always realized that medicine and health are very important everywhere and connect us humans with each other.

Owen O’Connor

How did your time at Northwestern impact you and what were the main differences you saw between education in the US and in Switzerland?

Ursula Nakamura

I loved my stay at Chicago, be it at Northwestern hospital or at Northwestern University. The subjects offered at the university were weighted differently than in Europe. Topics around the Americas and the Pacific were very important here, unlike in Switzerland at that time. It was also exciting that we had to read tons of prescribed books within a very short time, but we were less required to do independent research. I learned an incredible amount there.

Brennan Balzac

What was the process like for founding a Feminist political party? Was it difficult to be excepted and find support?

Annemarie Heiniger

It was 1991 - so it was a different time. There were far fewer women in parliamentary politics than today. We women were angry and we showed that in a feminist and cheeky election campaign. We wrote a rap and went from restaurant to restaurant and from square to square - surprising people with our lyrics. We had almost no money - so we invented other ways to be known. We reached 5 seats out of 130 - which was sensational!!! - In the parliament we were correct, but also here we were cheeky. We demanded gender-appropriate language. And imagine, the (most) men complied. We were respected and sometimes smiled at.

Ashlyn Belote

Was there any specific event/moment that inspired you to write your book “The Struggle for Equal Rights” and do you think this book has made any important impact on your campaign for women's rights?

Ursula Nakamura

See answer above

Ashlyn Belote

I see that you have held many positions within many organizations throughout your life. Has there been a position that you have held throughout 13 your nonprofit work that you have enjoyed more than others? And, if so, why?

Annemarie Heiniger

The most exciting work was the development of the meeting place and counseling center Frauen-Oase. Finding a house for counseling drug prostitutes - who wants such people in the neighborhood? We found one. We got male and middle-class politicians to support our project. We did fundraising and were successful. We networked with drug rehab projects, homeless help, professional prostitutes associations, etc. - For women, a "life in the alley" is very different than for men. During the founding and set up work we were only 6 women - I learned so much for my own life and experienced a huge solidarity from my 6 colleagues. - I myself was never a counselor in the Women's Oasis but until today I am still a member of the association and a supporter.


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