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‘A Land Shaped By Women’ Maps Iceland’s Journey To Gender Equality

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Iceland – not like many other nations – regularly produces a number of detailed stories about its relatively small inhabitants. In the primary quarter of 2019, the nation really had extra men than girls. The males outnumbered the females 183,920 to 174,860. Despite that, the story is often picked up by aggregator websites or republished in blogs by mistake, which means the hoax has never really gone away.

Photo courtesy of the Women’s History Archive. Members of parliament in 1924, including Ingibjörg H. Bjarnason, the first ladies elected to Icelandic parliament. Photo courtesy of Alþingi, Women’s History Archive.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, Iceland was a sparsely populated country of farmers, their wives and offspring, and land-labourers and maids on farms. The middle-class ― the backbone of all social actions ― was all but absent till well into the 20th century. Reykjavík, the most important town and the capital, counted solely about 5.000 individuals in 1900, or about 5 % of the inhabitants of the island.

The girls walked off the job at 2.55pm, a symbolic time after which they are technically not paid, as women in Iceland – a country renowned for its gender equality – earn only seventy four per cent of the typical male wage, according to Iceland Statistics. In 2018, the labour force participation price was 78% for girls and 85% for men. The unadjusted gender pay gap was 15% in 2017, however 14% for full-time staff. Women at the moment are 38% of elected members of the Althingi and forty seven% of local authorities members but their share in many other positions of affect is lower. At the beginning of 2019, girls had been 36% of municipal managers (mayors) and close to 42% of managers of state institutions.

Schools shut down. The nationwide airline cancelled flights for lack of flight attendants. And since ladies operated the printing presses of the Morgunbladid newspaper, they returned to work at midnight, printed the paper at half its normal size, and included solely articles in regards to the strike.

  • During each my interview with Rakel and the ladies working on the Hinsegin Huldkonur challenge, Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir and Íris Ellenberger, I was struck by the way in which modern issues and activism informed their historical analysis and vice versa.
  • She has been a member of Iceland’s parliament for Reykjavík since 1978, winning re-election on eight successive events.
  • The ladies’s slate was victorious on the polls, receiving 22 percent of legitimate votes cast and four of the 15 councillors.
  • For most of its historical past, the Progressive Party has ruled with the Independence Party.

They asked me to be their president. It touched me deeply, as I knew why that they had sent it – they had been acknowledging the fact that girls run every little thing ashore whereas they’re at sea. It was also an acknowledgment that we’re the ministers of finance, ministers of schooling and the architects of our properties, with the specialised abilities to successfully run a family and life. It was attention-grabbing being the only lady shifting in a male political world. While men obtained away with simply sprucing their shoes and placing a handkerchief of their jacket pockets, I had more of an issue with what to put on.

Gender inequality worldwide

Women are paid lower than males in each country on the planet, according to analysis by the World Economic Forum. Employers within the Nordic country now need to show that they pay men and women in the identical jobs equally. If they fail to do so, they risk being fined. Iceland has made it very tough to pay women less than men.

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“To completely close the gender pay hole in Iceland, we need tackle larger, social points. One of the main causes for the gender pay hole is the gender segregation of the Icelandic labor market,” she adds, referring to how some professions predominantly employ males and vice versa. Gender pay equality was one of the key campaign guarantees made in 2016 by Iceland’s Reform Party (Viðreisn), which was part of the Independence Party’s coalition authorities.

“We still need to battle for a very equal society,” stated Heither- og Omarsdottir, pointing out that Iceland’s international status as a mannequin of gender equality merely illustrates how dangerous the situation is elsewhere. Women in Iceland first exercised the best to vote in enatinal lections held August 5 1916, and in particular particular person constituencies October 21 1916.

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