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Iceland’s PM Takes a Stand: Strikes for Gender Pay Equity

Iceland’s PM Takes a Stand: Strikes for Gender Pay Equity

Iceland’s PM Takes a Stand: Strikes for Gender Pay Equity

Iceland’s PM Takes a Stand: Strikes for Gender Pay Equity

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  • Katrín Jakobsdóttir, stage “kvennafri” strike for gender equality and against violence.
  • Impact felt in female-majority sectors like healthcare and education.
  • First full-day women’s strike since 1975.
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On Tuesday, tens of thousands of Icelandic women, including Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, will participate in a “kvennafri” or women’s day off as a protest against gender pay inequality and gender-based violence.

This strike will have a significant impact on sectors predominantly employing women, such as healthcare and education.

It will be the first full-day women’s strike since 1975, and organizers are encouraging women and non-binary individuals to abstain from both paid and unpaid work on that day, which includes household tasks.

“I will not work this day, as I expect all the women [in cabinet] will do as well,” Iceland’s PM Ms Jakobsdóttir told the mbl.is website.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir revealed that her government is currently assessing how professions dominated by women are valued compared to traditionally male-dominated fields.

The Icelandic Teachers’ Union disclosed that women constitute the majority of teachers at all educational levels, with kindergarten teachers being 94% women.

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Moreover, approximately 80% of the workforce at the National University Hospital of Iceland, the country’s largest hospital, comprises women.

While Iceland has held the title of the best country for gender equality by the World Economic Forum for 14 consecutive years, it is not entirely gender-balanced, with an overall WEF score of 91.2%.

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In terms of economic participation, Iceland ranks 14th globally, falling below nations such as Liberia, Jamaica, and Norway.

In 1975, nearly 90% of Icelandic women staged a strike to underscore their economic importance. This historic strike led to the passing of an equal pay law in the following year by the country’s parliament.

Former Icelandic president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir noted in 2015 that the 1975 strike served as the inaugural step in women’s liberation in Iceland.

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It laid the foundation for her historic election as the world’s first democratically elected female head of state in 1980.

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