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Why Icelandic women are on strike

Why Icelandic women are on strike

icelandic women strike

Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is among thousands of women and non-binary people expected to stop work today for a national women’s strike.

The strike is calling for an end to the gender pay gap and gender-based violence in Iceland.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index ranks Iceland as the best country in the world for gender equality. Economic disparities remain, however.


Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir said she would join the national women’s strike. She expected other ministers in Iceland’s parliament would do the same.

The full-day strike comes 48 years after the first of its kind, when 90% of Icelandic working women stopped work for gender equality.

The 1975 strike led to an equal pay law being passed in Iceland’s Parliament.

Today’s strike

Icelandic women and non-binary people are encouraged to strike at work and at home, to avoid taking on “expected” unpaid labour. This includes “childcare, housework and the emotional labour of delegating tasks”.

Strike organisers are also seeking higher wages for Iceland’s population of immigrant women. Migrant women make up around 22% of the country’s labour market.

Government’s response

Jakobsdóttir told Icelandic news outlet, “We have not yet reached our goals of full gender equality and we are still tackling the gender-based wage gap, which is unacceptable in 2023.”

The Government has launched an investigation into how female-dominated jobs in health care and education pay less than male-dominated jobs.

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