All Women, Including The Prime Minister, Are Striking In Iceland Today
It's called “Kvennafrí” or "Women's Day Off" and it's resulted in major change in the past.
Iceland is one of the best countries for women and girls. They boast a fantastic federal paid paternal leave plan, amazing childcare infrastructure, and a government that actually cares about bodily autonomy. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, it’s been the top country for women and gender equality for the past consecutive 14 years.
And yet on Tuesday, tens of thousands of women are expected to opt out of work and household duties and go on strike for women’s rights. Why? Because they believe that things can still get better for women. For example, the wage gap is only 90% closed there, and gender-based violence is still happening to women.
The protest is being organized by 45 different organizations and unions.
Even their prime minster, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, is participating in the strike, which is called “Kvennafrí” or “Women’s Day Off.”
“As you know, 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. We are still tackling gender-based violence, which has been a priority for my government to tackle,” Jakobsdóttir told the Iceland Monitor.
The first Women’s Day Off happened on this day in 1975, when 90% of all women in Iceland stopped participating in the world for the day, both at work and at home, just to see what would happen. As you might guess, the whole country shut down.
The strike led to major change, including the election of the country’s first female president and the country’s pivotal 1976 Equality Act.
“Women in Iceland are striking today, for the 7th time since the famous #womensdayoff in 1975,” Iceland’s current president, Gudni Johannesson, posted on X, along with a scene from the first strike. “Their activism for equality has changed Icelandic society for the better and continues to do so today.”
Not me being incredibly jealous of an entire other country.
Just in the nation’s capital, 25,000 women and non-binary people are expected to protest, with the traditional chant of, "Kallarou þetta jafnretti?" which translates to, "You call this equality?"
Where can I scream this locally?
Iceland has closed the gender equity gap by 91.2% But the women there want to get it all the way to 100%, and they won’t stop being angry until the gap doesn’t exist at all. You have to respect that. In the United States, equity between the sexes stands just about at 75%, for comparison.
Icelandic women are also outraged that, according to a recent University of Iceland study, that one in four Icelandic women have been sexually assaulted (this is on par with the United States). And from the sound of it, women organizers in Iceland won’t stop protesting it until the number is zero. As it should be.
Men have been asked to participate and show solidarity with the strike by taking on additional work both at their jobs and at home today — and many thousands are taking part.
One one-way ticket to Iceland, please.