A demonstrator holds a sign during a march to demand more equality and the end of violence against women in Zurich, Switzerland (Photo: Reuters/NAN)

Women across Switzerland let loose with screams during a national protest on Sunday, demanding equal treatment and an end to violence at the hands of men.

Thousands of marchers in Geneva and other Swiss cities screamed for a minute at 3.24 p.m. – the time of day when women technically start working for free given the wage gap.

Last year, half a million people marched to highlight the nation’s poor record on women’s rights.

This year’s version of what organisers call the Women’s Strike was more subdued given coronavirus restrictions.

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“For me, it is emotional because I scream. But I also scream for my sisters and brothers.

”I scream for all the other children who lost a mother or a father and I also scream for my mother, who would have screamed if she was still here,’’ said Roxanne Errico, a 19-year-old student, who said her mother was killed by her violent boyfriend.

Switzerland has a high quality of life but lags other developed economies in women’s pay and workplace equality.

Women earn roughly a fifth less than men, better than 30 years ago when it was about a third less.

Demonstrators decried violence against women and called for recognition of often unpaid work caring for family and relatives. They also staged a flash mob and held a minute’s silence for women killed by husbands or boyfriends.