The women’s strike in Iceland

A day without women, as already happened in 1975. Even in the most advanced European countries, rights are never taken for granted. Thus, today, Iceland is witnessing the largest women’s strike in history: a mobilization that has not been seen since the ‘kvennafrí’ (women’s day off) on 24 October 1975, when 90% of the country’s women stopped working for a whole day.

Workers at work in a fish production plant in Iceland – photo source: @Olivier Morin

This time, the object of the event, I am the gender pay gap (pay gap between men and women) and sexual and gender-based violence. The strike, in which thousands of women across the country have joined, involves a day’s stop in paid and unpaid work, which also includes domestic work, too often a prerogative reserved only for women at home. As a sign of solidarity, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will also fold her arms today.

“You call this equality?”: women take to the front lines to demand equal pay

According to report of the World Economic Forum on gender equality in the workplace, Over the last 14 years, Iceland has always been the country closest to achieving gender pay equality. Despite this, some organizers have highlighted how in some areas the wage gap still reaches peaks of 21%. Although, in fact, since 2017 there has been a law that requires companies and companies to certify that the salaries of men and women are equal for equal work tasks, this is difficult to match in reality.

Especially in sectors with a high female concentration, such as care and cleaning: according to the organizers’ data, salaries in these sectors would be much lower than those in other comparable sectors. The issue of sexual and gender violence is closely linked to the issue of economic discrimination. In fact, many non-binary gender people also joined the strike because “We are all fighting against the same system, we are all under the influence of patriarchy” explained Freyja Steingrímsdóttir, one of the organizers, to ‘The Guardian’. This is echoed by my colleague Drífa Snædal who stated: “Violence against women and low-paid work are two sides of the same coin and they affect each other”. And precisely because Iceland has always been talked about as a paradise of gender equality, “We need to make sure we live up to these expectations” ha aggiunto Freyja Steingrímsdóttir.

The post first appeared on

Leave a comment