Julia Schubiger, graduated in communication and ethnology, have worked with FIFF since 2015. For the 2019 edition, she was a member of the programming team and a member of the selection committee for short films. She works on programming for other festivals too. Besides her professional activities, she campaigns for respect and rights of women. We met her to discuss the Women Strike of 14th June and what is at stake on that day.
What is your commitment?
I am first and foremost a feminist and fight every day for women and men equality. I am also a member of an association in Fribourg called Mille Sept Sans which campaigns for awareness and prevention of harassment in public places.
Are you part of the organisation of the Women Strike?
No, I am not in the organisation but Mille Sept Sans supports the event and will run a stand in Fribourg. I will be there on Friday (editor’s note: 14th June). I do not go to the strike only as a member of an association though, I go there mainly as a professional woman who demands fundamental rights and equality.
How do you picture that strike?
I would love that a maximum number of women and men will participate, all united in common fight. This is going to be an historical event! Many individuals are however scared of getting fired or do no know how to tackle the question with their superior. Fortunately, the matter was broadly discussed and has become talked about in every layer of society. When someone tells me they are not concerned with the strike and its claims… I am stunned!
You talk about men participating in the strike. They can get involved then?
Sure! Men have much to gain if we would enforce the nineteen points of the strike’s manifesto (read it in French, German or Italian). I am impatient to strike with them. They can support the collective action by helping women to leave their job, by replacing them for example, in particular in area such as teaching, health or security.
Which claim do you is closest to your heart?
The seventh point of the manifesto is dear to me: “because our body belongs to us, we urge to be respected and free in our choices”. I would like to condemn the society’s immobility as well. The last women strike in Switzerland happened in 1991, the year I was born. Most demands are identical in 2019. In 28 years, I grew up but our society lags behind. I do not want to wait 18 more years to observe some faint changes.
Don’t you see any progress?
Not enough for me, no. In professional settings, wages are still unequal and glass ceilings are everywhere. We must add to the equation the persistence of stereotypes about particular jobs being specifically for men or women. No professional environment is spared.
Sexism is overall. We grew up surrounded by clichés on men and women. I think it is about time to fight against it and abolish it.
You work in film festivals. Most film festivals in Switzerland signed SWAN’s Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion1 which aims at enhancing the presence of women in the audiovisual industry. What is your opinion on that pledge?
I congratulate SWAN’s commitment! The data compiled with the various statistics required from festivals is very useful to get a clear view on inequality in the Swiss and international movie industry. For genuine changes though, one should act on the entire line of production. Festivals are almost at the end of the line, they suffer in a way from inequalities happening on each previous steps (more men admitted in cinema schools, more financial help given to men’s project, etc.).
One last refreshing question. What are the films one should watch on this 14th June?
#Female Pleasure by Barbara Miller ;
God Exists, her Name Is Petrunya by Teona Strugar Mitevska;
L'une chante, l'autre pas by Agnès Varda ;
Delphine et Carole, insoumuses by Callisto McNulty ;
L'Ordre Divin by Petra Volpe ;
And the short film Kado by Aditya Ahmad selected and awarded at FIFF 2019.
1 The Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals, is an initiative launched by SWAN (Swiss Women’s Audiovisual Network). FIFF signed it during the 2019 Festival. Read more about it.