Emilie Lieberherr

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Emilie Lieberherr
Emilie Lieberherr.jpg
Emilie Lieberherr (1986)
Born(1924-10-14)14 October 1924
Erstfeld, Switzerland
Died3 January 2011(2011-01-03) (aged 86)
Zollikerberg, Switzerland
Alma materUniversity of Bern

Emilie Lieberherr (October 14, 1924, Erstfeld - January 3, 2011, Zollikerberg;[1] place of origin in Zürich und Nesslau), was a Swiss politician (Social Democratic Party of Switzerland).

Early Life and Education[edit]

The second of three sisters, Emilie Lieberherr was born to a machinist and seamstress in Erstfeld in 1924.[2] She attended Theresianum Igenbohl, a Catholic boarding school during her youth and graduated with a commercial diploma. After graduating, she worked as a secretary at the Swiss Bank Corporation in Zurich for three years. In 1947, Lieberherr left the position to then work four years as a personal trainer at the Oscar Weber AG in Bern. Lieberherr later earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Bern after attending from the year 1952 to 1956. After earning her doctorate, she moved to the United States for three years during which time she worked as a governess for Henry Fonda, taking care of his children, Peter and Jane Fonda.[3] Returning to Switzerland in 1960, Lieberherr took a position as a vocational school teacher for sales staff in Zurich from 1960 to 1970.

Activism and Political Career[edit]

In 1961, Lieberherr co-founded the Consumer Forum of Switzerland. Towards the end of the 1960s, she became more politically involved, joining and becoming one of the leading figures in the movement of women's suffrage in Switzerland. Lieberherr became the President of the Action Committee that lead the March to Bern.[4] On March 1, 1969, she spoke to a crowd of thousands gathered in the Federal Square to demand the right to vote from the Swiss government.[5] Lieberherr joined the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland soon after [6] and from 1970 until 1994, when she resigned, she was the first female city councilor of the city of Zurich and the head of the Zurich Social Welfare Office.[7][8]

Lieberherr was the representative of the Canton of Zurich in the Federal Assembly from 1978 to 1983. She also served as the first President of the Federal Commission for Women's Issues in Switzerland.[2] Up to 1978, she was re-elected with support from the Social Democratic Party until she had a falling out with them in 1982. In 1986 she was re-elected again with support from the Zurich Trade Union Confederation. Lieberherr was officially excluded from the Social Democratic Party in 1990 for supporting Josef Estermann instead of the selected party candidate during the election for the City Executive Committee.

In 2014 Emilie Lieberherr's work was honoured by the Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster.[9][10]

Social Work[edit]

Aside from working as the head of social services for 24 years, Lieberherr did a lot of work for the public while in office. She was the co-initiator of the medically controlled distribution of heroin on Schwerstsuchtige and was involved in constructing the four pillar model of the Swiss drug policy.[2] She introduced alimony advance in Zurich and established the Foundation of Residential Care for the Elderly.[2] Throughout her time in office she also built twenty-two homes in Switzerland for the disenfranchised, established youth centers, and introduced programs for unemployed young adults.

Youth protests of 1980[edit]

The further, for that time extremely high subventions, but lacking of alternative governmental cultural programs for the youth in Zürich, occurred in 1980 to the so-called Opernhauskrawalle youth protests – Züri brännt,[11] meaning Zürich is burning, documented in the Swiss documentary film Züri brännt (movie). The most prominent politician involved was Emilie Lieberherr, then member of the city's executive (Stadtrat) authorities.


  • Trudi of Fellenberg Bitzi: Emilie Lieberherr: pioneer of Swiss woman policy. NZZ Libro, Zürich 2019, ISBN 978-3-03810-408-7.



  1. ^ Ein Leben für Frauen und Bedürftige. In: Tages-Anzeiger. 5. Januar 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d EBG, Eidgenössisches Büro für die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann. "Emilie Lieberherr (1924-2011)". www.ebg.admin.ch (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  3. ^ EBG, Eidgenössisches Büro für die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann. "Emilie Lieberherr (1924-2011)". www.ebg.admin.ch (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  4. ^ swissinfo.ch, S. W. I.; Corporation, a branch of the Swiss Broadcasting. "The march for women's suffrage in Switzerland". SWI swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  5. ^ "Extreme events and insurance: 2011 annus horribilis". The Geneva Reports. 4 (1): 19–164. 2014-09-01. doi:10.5848/geneva.6891.2014.0007. ISSN 1662-3738.
  6. ^ "CBS News/New York Times National Surveys, 1981". 1984-06-20. doi:10.3886/icpsr07991. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "52315, 1894-03-06, DICKINSON (William) M.D., St. Louis (Mo.) † ; LINDSAY (Louis F.), St. Louis (Mo.)". doi:10.1163/2210-7886_asc-52315. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ EBG, Eidgenössisches Büro für die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann. "Emilie Lieberherr (1924-2011)". www.ebg.admin.ch (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  9. ^ "Frauenehrungen" (in German). Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster. Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  10. ^ "Frauenehrungen der Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster" (PDF) (in German). Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2014-11-30. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "10vor10 - TV - SRF Player" (in German). 10vor10. 2015-01-16. Retrieved 2015-01-16.