I was shocked to learn yesterday that Switzerland didn't grant votes to women until 1971. Other European foot-draggers like France granted this right at the end of the second world war, making Switzerland over 25 years later than its cultural counterparts.
On doing a little research, it seems that the commonly accepted explanation is a peculiarity of Switzerland's statute book. Changes to the constitution can only be ratified via a referendum of existing voters. These were of course men: so it took until 1971 to persuade a majority of male Swiss voters to grant women the vote.
I feel uneasy about this explanation for two reasons. Firstly, although the referendum requirement is unusual, voting rights for women must obviously have been passed via all-male governments in all the other states which implemented it decades before the Swiss. Second, one would assume that voting rights for women were an uncontentious issue elsewhere in Western Europe well before the 1970's. If so, that still seems an unusually long time for the Swiss to copy the commonly accepted societal norms of their cultural peers.
So: were there any deeper reasons as to why it took so long for Switzerland to implement women's suffrage?